May 8, 2020

Postcard to my younger self: Monica Dowling

To celebrate the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, we asked a selection of staff who exemplify the key qualities of a nurse/midwife to write a ‘postcard to their younger self’ and offer insight and advice. Monica Dowling, Nurse Donation Specialist and ICU Liaison Nurse Consultant, had this to say to her younger self:

The day your nursing becomes routine for you is the day you need to challenge yourself with something new. Being uncomfortable in your role means you are learning something – embrace every opportunity.

Starting out in nursing many years ago in Ireland, career progression came with age not expertise. Coming to Australia in 1987 blew that myth right out of the water. Look around you – nursing is the mecca for opportunity.

Believe in yourself – yes a bedside nurse can become an Associate Nurse Unit Manager and progress to Nurse Unit Manager, District Nurse, Director of Nursing, Nurse Recruitment Project Manager, ICU Liaison and Nurse Organ Donation Nurse Specialist!

Are you good enough for the role? Make yourself good enough with the right training/courses/Grad Dips. Remember you owe it to yourself and to those who work with you to be the best at what you undertake. Yes it is scary, yes it is uncomfortable, yes you doubt yourself and yes you make mistakes.

But one day it all falls into place and you become comfortable and confident again. Enjoy the feeling for a while (seven years was my limit in any role) and consider the next challenge – new organisation, new role, new focus, new people.  

40 years on and I still love nursing and I continue to be excited by the opportunities it provides!