What our people say NAHS

Enjoying a riverside winery

Our people make the Northern Area Health Service such a great place to work

Duncan Cooke, general physician/nephrologist

Dr Duncan Cooke returned to Launceston in 2010 after spending two years living and working in Adelaide, to take up a post at the Launceston General Hospital. A University of Tasmania School of Medicine graduate, he spent the 5th and 6th years of the degree at the Launceston General Hospital plus his intern year, so it was a case of returning to familiar surrounds in his new role. And one of the reasons he came back was the positive experience he’d had at the LGH as a student. “The Department of Medicine staff is friendly and supportive and I like the Tasmanian lifestyle. Housing is affordable. You can buy a house close to work,” he said.

Jane Nicholson, Registered Nurse

There were many reasons for Jane Nicholson’s move to Tasmania but at the core was the need to live and work in a place that had “decent bush, rivers and rain”. After several years in central NSW she was keen to get away from the “dust, the heat and the flies”. Originally from New Zealand, she moved to Australia in 2003 with her shearer husband. An enrolled nurse for more than 30 years, Jane decided to upgrade her skills through Charles Sturt University graduating in 2009 with a nursing degree. She spent her graduate year working at Bathurst Base Hospital and is now keen to put her newly acquired knowledge to the test.

With fond memories of Tasmania after a holiday here in 2006, the State beckoned in mid 2010. After a call to the Launceston General Hospital confirmed the possibility of work, Jane and her husband packed up their house and two cats and set sail. Of her time at the hospital so far, Jane she is heartened by the support she’s received from other staff. “They care about each other and their patients,” she said.

Shawn Lee, Manager Physiotherapy LGH

Shawn was born in Taipei, Taiwan and came to Australia (Brisbane) for high school studies aged 16. He studied physiotherapy at Sydney University. For the last three years he worked as clinical manager of physiotherapy at Christchurch Hospital in New Zealand.

When did you start at the Launceston General Hospital?

I started in September. I managed to get a flight out of Christchurch, the day after the big earthquake. I felt a little guilty leaving my partner and Jack Russell behind dealing with the aftershocks on their own.

What do you like about your current role?

I like the fresh challenge in a progressive and innovative organisation in an environment that is changing rapidly. I also get the feeling of support for professional autonomy and personal growth as a leader in this organisation from conversations with senior staff. Most of all I like how everyone knows everyone and the friendly chats in the corridors.

What are the challenges?

The role is strategic and multifaceted. Systems and relationships are complex. It is impossible to focus on one thing at the time. You need high-level time management skills. Autonomy can be a blessing and a curse at times!

Experience so far?

There’s always a challenge in any large organisation to understand the complex processes within the organisation; an induction programme is not necessarily going to teach you all of that. People have been very helpful with inducting and linking me in the processes and people. I’ve found the quickest way to orientate is to find people in the organisation that can help build relationships and I am happy that I have got that.

How do you find working in Launceston, Tasmania?

Fantastic; work-life balance is quite easy to achieve and there’s such a huge variety of things to do in and around Launceston. It’s about experience and work-life balance, that’s the selling point. Launceston has certainly delivered in this regard. It’s challenging but I consider myself lucky this opportunity came along.