This International Nurses Day we’re celebrating some of the lesser-known heroes of The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. Without the hard work and dedication of our nursing staff, we would not be the world-leading specialist hospital we are today.

This year’s theme for International Nurses Day is “Nurses: A Voice to Lead”, focusing on the true value of nurses to the people of the world. we caught up with some of our superstar nurses to ask them about their career and what being a nurse means to them.


Hong Chang has worked with us at the Eye and Ear for nearly 39 years. Hong reflected on what it was like to be a nurse during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the past years as a nurse I have learned how much nurses contribute to the physical and also mental wellbeing of patients, especially throughout the pandemic. We are the first and last faces they interact with when they come to the hospital and are crucial in ensuring they feel comfortable and safe at all times.”

“My favourite thing about working at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital is the sense of family and comradeship amongst my colleagues. We all come to work striving to provide the highest quality of care for our patients, but also making them feel well cared for after undergoing a procedure.”


Sigi James has been working at the hospital for 3 and a half years, and has won a Patient Experience Award for her dedication to patient-centred care.

“Over the last year, I have worked with different teams in Ward 4, Emergency Department and also volunteered to work in Kirkbrae Nursing home when there were severe staffing shortages being experienced last year due to the pandemic. I found that I am comfortable looking after a wide variety of patients including COVID-19 positive and Patients with dementia. It was a challenging year both physically and emotionally.”

When asked for some tips for young nurses just starting their career, Sigi advised,

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be gentle with yourself. Be open and receptive to feedback.”


Fleur Long has been working with us at the Eye and Ear since 1975, when she commenced as a fresh and enthusiastic trainee, before taking a break between 1985 and 1995.

“What I most enjoy about being a nurse at the Eye and Ear is that we have the opportunity to give our patients, hopefully, the use of four of their five senses, seeing, hearing, tasting, and smell. When this is taken away and then returned the sheer joy that you see on their faces is reward enough for me.

I’m more or less at the end of my journey, and I have met many wonderful people, some who have remained friends for almost 50 years. I have been given the opportunity to learn from some of the best Ophthalmologists, Orthoptists, Photographers, Audiologists, and of course the nurses at the Eye and Ear who are a special breed.”

Rising stars

From 30 year careers to 3 months, each of our nurses play an important role in the patient experience and the future of patient care at the Eye and Ear.


Meet Nursing Graduates Natalie Chung and Sarah Anne Jeffery who commenced their Graduate Program with us in mid-February 2021. We had a chat with them about their journey so far and some of the best advice they have received as they embark on their nursing career.

“I chose the Eye and Ear because I wanted to explore the ways we can care for the senses,” explains Natalie.

“This year’s International Nurses Day theme ‘A Voice to Lead’ means to me that as nurses, we need to be our patient’s advocates and relay on their wishes to the multidisciplinary team. We are our patient’s point of care and therefore we need to work together to lead better patient-centred care.”

“The best piece of advice I have received so far, is that we all need to start somewhere. This advice makes me feel humble and grateful that help is accessible from our excellent and experienced healthcare team.”

Having now completed the grad program, It has been great to see Natalie working in a full time nursing role with us at the Eye and Ear.

“Upon completion of my grad program, I am currently working in our theatres. It has been a great learning experience and I’ve enjoyed working with our health care team members.”


Sarah is currently working in our Emergency Department and has a keen interest in our Surgical Admissions + Recovery area as well as our Day Surgery unit.

“My favourite thing about being a nurse is the diversity of patients presenting and the ability to form personal connections with both patient and the healthcare team. Knowing that every day I come to work and am going to be both mentally and physically challenged is exciting, as well as knowing that I am making a difference in another person’s life. Overall a career in nursing is highly rewarding,” explains Sarah.

“I believe that the most helpful and comforting piece of advice I have been given is that you can’t become a great nurse in a short period of time. There are so many different elements and skills involved in a nursing career that take years to develop and perfect. To be in an environment that teaches young nurses that these skills and confidence don’t just appear overnight and that mistakes are a welcomed part of learning, has helped me to strive to improve every day.”

We thank each and every one of our nurses for their kindness, perseverance, and passion for the patient experience. Happy International Nurses Day!

Nursing at the Eye and Ear