When Philippines-born Leonor Canapi lost her 36-year-old mother to lung cancer, she was just 12 years of age and was yet to choose her future career.
"There were two career strings in my family – law and medicine,” said the now clinical nurse manager at St Stephen’s Hospital on the Fraser Coast.
After high school, Ms Canapi began studying law but she also gave nursing a try. She fell in love with the latter and never looked back.
“My mother dying so young inspired me to help others through nursing but also the majority of my family are in the medical field. We have nurses, physiotherapists and surgeons.
“Seeing them work in the medical field and hearing them talk about the differences they made in their patients’ lives gave me the passion for nursing. I fell in love with nursing back in nursing school.”
Ms Canapi is among the almost 100 nurses, 40 volunteers as well as support staff being honoured with a barbecue lunch tomorrow in celebration of International Nurses Day (12 May), National Volunteer Week (9-15 May) and Thank You Day (28 May).
St Stephen’s General Manager Amanda Cruwys said the hospital acknowledges the valuable contribution its nurses, volunteers and support staff play in working together to support patients and their families through the journey of life.
“Often events that lead our patients and their families towards our hospital can be very anxious times and with just one part of our team out of action we can not provide our services,” Ms Cruwys said.
“Tomorrow is a day for not only myself and our executive team thanking all of our staff and volunteers but for each of our staff to thank each other and other departments for their contribution to the work we do here at St Stephen’s to promote community focused healthcare.”
Ms Canapi said: “Even in today’s ever-changing medical field, the basic foundation of nursing is still there. That is, caring for patients, putting them as a priority, and at the end of the day finding satisfaction knowing you’ve done a worthy job.”
As well as being a personally rewarding career, nursing also offers opportunities for international travel.
Ms Canapi completed her training in the Philippines and later moved to Saudi Arabia where she met her future husband. Together with their first child, they moved to New Zealand and then to Australia in 2014.
Other nationalities of current nurses at St Stephen’s include English, Scottish, Indian, South African and Dutch.