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Nursing: a calling and a fantastic profession


We are SO EXCITED about to have a superstar guest blogger on My Health Career!! Following is a post by Associate Professor Brett Aimers, Chief Nurse at St John Ambulance Australia. Brett is happy to answer questions you might have about a career in nursing, and can be contacted via email at

“Now more than ever, is nursing an exciting, rewarding and noble profession. Today, nurses have a vast array of career opportunities that stretch beyond the traditional ward or hospital environment.

During my early years of secondary school (not that long ago…) I know I wanted a career as a health professional. Initially my mind was set on being a Paramedic but my young age (or perhaps – the calling), led me to where I am today.

To dispel a nursing myth up front, nursing is not about changing beds; it is a dynamic, ever-changing and exciting profession – one that I am proud to be a part of. Nurses are an integral and increasingly important component of our health system that cannot function effectively without the dedication of doctors, nurses, paramedics, allied health professionals and support staff.

Whether it be going to work or volunteering as the Chief Nurse with St John Ambulance Australia – I still get the sense of self-worth when I’m able to influence a good outcome or look after someone who is sick or injured. It may simply be someone after reassuring advice or someone experiencing a life-threatening emergency such as cardiac arrest – that’s the variety we see in the nursing profession.

From an early age I was fortunate to hear about and eventually become a member of St John Ambulance Australia; a volunteer organisation active in every State and Territory that provides first aid and pre-hospital health care to the sick, injured and those in need. This can range from a presence at a local sports carnival through to a major international event or an emergency such as a bushfire or flood.

It was my involvement in and enjoyment of volunteering with St John Ambulance Australia that ultimately led me to nursing. I found myself selecting secondary school subjects that included biology, chemistry and psychology.

At various stages throughout my nursing career to date, I’m often asked – ‘why nursing?’ To this day my answer has been a simple one and hasn’t changed – ‘to help people’ – that’s what nursing is about. Personally, I find the privilege of being able to care for another human very grounding and an experience that constantly brings me perspective on life.

When first starting out in nursing, particularly after just leaving school, it can be a little daunting. For those new to or thinking about nursing, I offer the following advice:

  •  Ask questions – don’t be afraid to ask a colleague about something you’re not sure about. Silly questions are those that go unasked.
  • Listen – to those around you. Let your patients tell you how they feel, what their injury or illness means to them. Nurses have great stories to tell.
  • Be involved – if you see an opportunity to be involved in a small group working on something, undertake a portfolio or help contribute to something – take it.

The above advice has held me in good stead and ultimately helped me become the nurse and nursing leader that I am today. To date, I’ve worked in a variety of nursing roles including general nursing, respiratory high dependency, critical care, education, workforce development and now leadership. As a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing, I represent nursing views in a variety of national forums and actively promote the role of nursing in fields of pre-hospital and disaster health.

As the Chief Nurse with St John Ambulance Australia, I have the unique and privileged opportunity to represent all nurses within our organisation and in doing so connect with government, peak bodies and associations on all things nursing. As a Clinical Associate Professor with the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne I’m able to further contribute to the role of nurses and other health professionals in the fields of disaster health and emergency management more generally.

At the end of day, it’s all about helping people, asking questions, listening and getting involved.”

4 replies to “Nursing: a calling and a fantastic profession”

  1. Hi Brett,

    I want to be a nurse and St John Ambulance looks like a good way to do this. Can you tell me more about St John Ambulance? I think it would be good, but I do not like the uniform you are wearing.


    1. Hi John,
      It’s great to see that you are looking to get information from our expert Brett!! You can email him directly to ask any questions you might have:
      My Health Career team.

  2. Yes…… Nursing is an amazing rewardng profession and one to be proud of. If it’s the right person doing the job then the care will be beneficial but the wrong approach will cause major discomfort. Believe me I have seen it all and really good nurses are Few and far between. You have to have a big heart and passion. If you have all that, then nurse your heart out. People really will love you.

    1. It’s so true…nurses are few & far between. I work in aged care and am so sad to see young nurses so far removed from the job. These vulnerable elders need special care when they are in such life changing circumstances. Most loose all independence & choice in life. Most are depressed. So unfair when you think about how much sacrifice they have given in their lives to benefit our future…..

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