Melissa Gole

Melissa Gole leaning on wall in hospital corridor

Clinical Nurse Consultant, Geriatric Medical Assessment Unit

St George Hospital

“I’ve always loved working with elderly people. I was very close to my grandmothers and I feel I can relate a lot to this generation, I love hearing their stories. They have both passed on, but sometimes I get a patient that reminds me a little bit of them. One of my grandmothers was actually an aged care nurse, she worked at Garrawarra, and so did my mother...

When I see a patient with dementia, I like working with the families and patients to understand who they were. Were they a doctor; were they a butcher who got up at 4am? Because a lot of the time people have adapted to their behaviours, and their way of doing things. I like to find out a bit more about them so we can have a plan and know who they are as a person, and to help them to get back to that...Perhaps they are a person who is just in a lot of pain and can’t communicate that…

I think working in aged care and health really opens up your perspective that life is something that is only temporary.  I do have a stressful job and I’m also a single mum so self -care is important. I make sure that I make time for myself in the morning, and I get exercise by walking my son to school and back and taking the stairs. I Belly dance, too. I’ve met a really close group of women through that, and we all call each other “sisters”... A lot of the nurses I work with are from the Philippines and there was a tourism ad running a few years ago, “It’s always a party in the Philippines”. So our joke is that "It’s always a party on Park 6"; not that we do always party, but we have a wacky sense of humour so it does keep things fun! I work with a lot of nice people.”