International Nurses Day - A Voice to Lead

Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Nurses have always played an extremely important role at Brightwater, their care, devotion and dedication makes a difference to each of our residents’ lives.

During the past year, our nurses have been working harder than ever on the frontline at our homes, doing everything they can for our residents and our staff to keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of those nurses is Clinical Lead, Abigael Mathea, who has been one of the driving forces behind our COVID-19 pandemic response with Clinical Lead, Jonika De Jonge.

Abigael, known as Abbie, was not always drawn to nursing, but it was her Mother who recognised Abbie’s caring and passionate nature and encouraged her to leave her home in Kenya and undertake a nursing degree in Perth, Western Australia.

“I never grew up wanting to be a nurse; I actually wanted to be a lawyer. But mum was not convinced that law was for me and that my personality would be much better suited to nursing.”

While Abbie studied her Nursing Degree at Edith Cowan University, she took a position as a Care Worker at Brightwater’s Transitional Aged Care Home in Kingsley. Since then she’s never looked back.

“I ended up falling in love with nursing through my studies and I’ve loved it ever since. I have no regrets.”

Abbie’s time at Brightwater Kingsley was also an important step for her in becoming a nurse under the mentorship of past Service Manager, Aileen Williams.

“One person who really mentored me and made me fall in love with nursing in aged care was my manager Aileen at Kingsley. She was a mentor for all of us and especially for me.”

Graduating from her nursing degree in 2015, Abbie said that it was Aileen who gave her that extra push she needed in devoting herself to nursing.

“I ended up getting a job as a Registered Nurse at Brightwater as well as working for an agency, so I did several shifts with hospitals through my agency work and had my shifts at Kingsley. I haven’t left Brightwater since.”

“I’ve worked across many different Brightwater sites since then including Onslow Gardens, Oxford Gardens, The Village and Redcliffe.”

“Brightwater has this beautiful spirit and really nice people. I’m so glad to be a part of it.”

Last year Abbie transitioned from Deputy Service Manager at Oxford Gardens, to our Clinical Support Project Officer, which during the pandemic evolved into Infection Control Nurse. Abbie became a familiar face across our homes with her infection control training sessions for staff, and working with teams to ensure we were doing the best we can to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.

Last week , Abbie took on the role as Clinical Lead for our homes North of Perth.

Abbie said that she has learnt so much during the pandemic about herself and also about the aged care industry.

“COVID is not a nice thing that has happened but you take the learnings from every opportunity you get and I think for us COVID highlighted a few challenges in our industry.”

“Now, we are empowering people to challenge processes and systems and question if they could work better. This is giving our people more confidence now, so for me – that’s a big win.”

“One of Brightwater’s values is progressive and for me this is to always innovate. You can only do that if you have the confidence and courage to challenge the way things have always been done, and if they’re not working, to be able to think - what can we do, how can we help?”

“It’s been a big year, there’s a lot of good that has come out of this. We’ve become very connected as an organisation.”

For Abbie, Nursing is not just a job, and it’s her own personal core values that lead the way she approaches nursing and her life.

“My personal core values and beliefs are kindness, honesty, persistence in lifelong learning, security, family and success. I use these values as my personal ambition and they lead me in my everyday life, and the core about nursing is care, knowledge and integrity.”

“I feel that my personal and professional philosophies are congruent because my personal values overlap the driving forces behind the core of nursing in that sense. You can’t turn off the qualities of a good nurse at the end of the shift, it is part of who you are and I carry them with me always.”

“Nursing in aged care is very rewarding. When you go home and reflect ‘I made a difference in someone’s life!’ That’s what makes it worthwhile.”

In the spirit of International Nurses Day, Abbie says each Nurse should be celebrated for their amazing work.

“Thank you for your dedication and drive to help others, for inspiring the world with effortless grace, for showing up and for smiling (even behind your masks)! You are special and amazing humans, who give your all for those who are facing the most difficult days. Praying for your safety and protection as you continue to be of service to others.”