Fifteen years ago, Christmas was a somewhat unusual occasion for Rutherford woman Karen Brown.
December 25 marked Mrs Brown’s first day on the job with Opal Maitland and 15 years on, there’s nowhere else she would rather be.
Mrs Brown recently won an Opal Aged Care Service award for her 15 year service to the Opal Maitland nursing home.
She remembers her very first shift on Christmas Day and from that day forward she felt part of an extended family.
“I’ve been through so much in the last 15 years and felt supported the entire way,” she said.
“From having my twins and maternity leave to losing a family member, the Opal team have been with me the entire way.
“I couldn’t see myself doing anything other than nursing, everyday you’re making a difference in both residents and families lives, and we work extremely hard to make residents’ lives more comfortable and a little brighter and happier.”
Mrs Brown is also a keen teacher and is often buddied up with Junior staff.
“I often share my learnings and skills with the junior staff members and take them under my wing as a teacher and a mentor,” she said.
“I’m showing a TAFE student around the facility at the moment too.”
Opal cares for 5900 residents across over 70 homes in four states, and employs more than 6700 staff. It focuses on the provision of specialist residential care, particularly for those living with dementia.