Townsville-born Helen had her sights set on a career as a Teacher, until a nursing work experience placement changed her mind.
"I wanted to be a Maths or Science Teacher, but after seeing first-hand the day to day role of Nursing during work experience, I changed my mind,’’ Helen said.
"At the time, as a 17 year-old, all I wanted to do was look after people and make them better, so I wasn't really considering the long term prospects of a career."
"I am passionate about helping and educating people who have a Stoma so that they feel less fearful and more confident.’’Helen Johnston
Helen went on to complete her three-year Hospital-based training at the Mater before she embarked on a working holiday around Australia.
Fast forward 35 years, and Helen now has a dual role at Mater Private Hospital Townsville. Helen's role as Clinical Documentation Specialist means she can apply her extensive clinical knowledge, including 18 years as a Surgical Unit Nurse Manager, to improve patient outcomes through correct documentation. She also has a Stomal Therapy role, where she works directly with patients, applying a patient-centred care model.
"It’s a job that I love,’’ Helen said.
"I am passionate about helping and educating people who have a stoma so that they feel less fearful and more confident.’’
She said people with a Stoma often didn’t feel comfortable even talking to family and friends.
"You build strong relationships with patients who can turn to you for support.’’