From Postie to PEPEN: A Water cooler conversation

We were delighted to receive these words from Mark Quealy recently in response to “Where are they now?” on our Water Cooler page.

POSTIE TO PEPEN

It’s never too late to take up nursing. At 46 years old & a postman in Kahibah NSW, I was encouraged by several nurses on my run (identified by their LAMP subscriptions I was delivering) to consider nursing. An inspiring Trainee Enrolled Nurse (TEN) program closely followed by the very supportive 12 month Perioperative Education Program for Enrolled Nurses (PEPEN) based at Prince of Wales Hospital in July 2005. I never would have believed that I was capable of working in theatres if it wasn’t for the multitude of mentors on the way. I have since completed my Bachelor of Nursing, thanks in part for the persuasion from preceptor Beth Mangelsdorf but mostly my wife who had more confidence in my aptitude than I was capable of. I am very happy working in the many & varied specialties at Randwick Campus Operating Suite with a truly inspiring bunch of colleagues. I hope I can encourage others to aim for what seems impossible initially.

Mark Quealy

What a great journey and thanks for sharing this on our website Mark! It’s an inspiring story about the empowerment of education and influence of mentors (and wives!).

Menna and I have known Mark since 2005 when he was selected for a place in PEPEN No.1.

But I’m getting ahead of myself!

Ms Deb Thoms presenting Certificates to PEPEN graduates 2003

Ms Deb Thoms presenting Certificates to PEPEN graduates 2003

PEPEN No.1 and Mark’s group followed the successful PEPEN pilot in 2003, which produced seven graduates and was a catalyst in establishing an advanced practice role for the Enrolled Nurse instrument nurse in New South Wales.

These photos from the Pilot graduation in 2003 show Ms Debra Thoms (then Area Director Of Nursing for South East Health) as well as Amanda Gore (Pilot Project Officer) with Invited Speakers Rebecca Roseby (then ENPA Representative) and Menna (then NSW OTA President) with me tucked in the middle – feeling very proud of the graduates and the large team of educators and managers who worked with Amanda and me to facilitate this area-wide project.

PEPEN Pilot key personnel and guest speakers with Graduates

PEPEN Pilot Graduation 2003

Two years later following changes to Enrolled Nurse education in New South Wales, the PEPEN no. 1 cohort in 2005 were all – like Mark Quealy – newly qualified medication-endorsed ENs, and keen to embark on a career in the operating suite.

This pic (below right) shows Mark during a PEPEN clinical teaching session facilitated by Graham Hextell (PEPEN Project Officer 2005-2008) at Prince of Wales Hospital.

Mark Quealy with Lily Peng and Hazel Poon and other students of PEPEN No 1 in 2005.

Mark Quealy with Lily Peng and Hazel Poon and other students of PEPEN No 1 in 2005.

He’s with PEPEN colleagues Anne Faulkner (left), Lily Peng and Hazel Poon (right), whose perioperative nursing careers have also thrived under the supportive team at the Randwick Campus Operating Suite, where until recently Menna has been the CNC.

In the decade since PEPEN, Mark has also found time time to be a local representative for NSW Nurses’ Association in his workplace. What a varied and satisfying career path!

As Mark says “I hope I can encourage others to aim for what seems impossible initially”.

If you’ve got an interesting story to tell about your career path or you’ve worked with us in the past, we’d love to hear from you again! Get in contact with us and we’ll post your story (and pics) too.

Bye for now and very best wishes for the festive season, Sally.