“Lucky” is not an adjective many people would choose after going through what Barbara Bew experienced.  Yet despite enduring a terrifying domestic assault after a major health emergency, the Registered Nurse chooses to maintain a ‘glass half full’ outlook. And she says it’s all thanks to her employer Nova Health for helping her get back on her feet after such a traumatic time.

Barbara signed on with Nova Health in 2014 before life took a sudden downhill turn. Diagnosed with uterine disease, she had to have an emergency hysterectomy which resulted in a lot of serious complications.

“I was really, really sick,” she recalls tearfully. But worse was yet to come.

While back home recovering, she was subjected to a brutal, out-of-the-blue attack from her then-fiancé. Over the course of ten hours, he punched her abdominal wound, tried to bite her finger off and threw her on the floor, leaving her unconscious.

Barbara was re-admitted back to hospital, but her recovery was hindered by a spate of setbacks: she fell and broke her leg; she had a car crash; her two dogs died; her friend died.

“And through it all Nova were just there for me,” she says.

Her managers at Nova Health encouraged her to seek help. A diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) confirmed that she wasn’t well enough to go back to nursing just yet and Barbara let her registration lapse. But she yearned to work again.

To help her achieve this, Nova Health encouraged Barbara to work initially as a healthcare assistant while helping her reinstate her nursing registration and gradually get back into nursing. It wasn’t easy. She struggled financially, but Nova did all they could to help her transition back into nursing.

They even supported Barbara outside of work, as she emerged as an artist and began exhibiting her work.

“For me, they go above and beyond as employers,” she says. “Nova Health’s logo is ‘Passion to Care’ and they really do walk the talk.”

“They’ve given me 100% loyalty, and I give them 100% back. They’re there for me every step of the way. If I’ve ever got an issue, I know I can speak to my boss. If I’ve got a clinical issue, they support me.”

Nova Health executive director Andrew McCathie says by valuing their staff they are able to deliver the best outcomes for their clients.

He and business partner Samuel Mackenzie have owned Nova Health for four and half years, and they believe firmly in delivering quality over quantity for clients, in an effort to meet their often complex needs. And to do this it means getting the right staff on board and treating them well.

“We work hard to attract the talent that our clients demand and provide our nurses and caregivers with a working environment that’s both challenging and enjoyable,” says Andrew.

For example, staff can choose when they want to work, he says. In addition to flexible work hours, Nova Health offers competitive pay, education and upskilling opportunities and the ability to grow professionally and personally. Covering everything from aged care through to tertiary hospitals, staff also have the opportunity to work in a variety of environments.

Despite all she’s been through, Barbara is in a good place now, thanks to Nova Health. She is thrilled to be back doing what she loves and what she is good at – nursing.

“I get offered jobs everywhere I go – I mean, I am good!” she laughs. “But I’ll never work for anyone else. I’ve never been this happy.”

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