Your web browser may not be properly supported. To use this site and all of its features, we recommend using the latest versions of Chrome, Safari or Firefox

Humans of GOTAFE – Yvonne Richards

Get to know Yvonne Richards, Trainer and Assessor Nursing.

Home >What's on >Articles >Humans of GOTAFE – Yvonne Richards

For International Nurses Day, we sat down with Yvonne Richards, Trainer and Assessor Nursing at GOTAFE, who shared her experiences training and working as a nurse herself, as well as teaching the upcoming generation of nurses.

When did your journey as a nurse begin?

I started nursing as a hospital trained nurse when I was 17. I remember being asked as a student nurse in our very first class, “what are you all loving about being in wards?” and I said “I think what I like is that everyone was in pyjamas and everyone is equal. So we treat everyone the same.

It would have changed a lot from when you first started in the field. What have been some key changes you’ve noticed?

They’ve largely been positive changes. Nurses are more respected as health professionals, not as the doctors handmaiden as we were often referred to previously. Nursing has a much stronger clinical based grounding to what had been part of our early experience.

What would the three most important skills be to succeed as a nurse?

First and foremost, great communication skills. If you cannot communicate effectively and have a level of empathy and understanding towards everyone in your workplace, especially patients, the role may not be for you. You need a good level of clinical skills to understand and implement your learnings taken from the classroom. There’s so many skills and qualities that make an exceptional nurse. It all boils down to having empathy, kindness and respect for those under your care.

Photo of Yvonne wearing a yellow top and red reading glasses.

What are the challenges of being a nurse?

There’s always challenges in every profession, for nurses, one of the biggest challenges is being recognised and respected as a profession. We’ve come such a long way with ratio allocation of patients being enforced in some states. It became very apparent over the last few years while COVID has been prevalent that sometimes being a nurse came with it’s risks. We had a duty of care to our patients, and because the healthcare system was and still is so overwhelmed it meant oftentimes nurses could not take care of their own health. Some nurses would run through double, even triple shift work – without any reward in place. Although the community and the media recognised our work, it was not reflected in our desire to see positive workplace changes regarding regulation of working hours and providing better pay packages.

What does International Nurses Day represent to you?

It’s about celebrating what nurses do and being grateful for the role we play in society as nurses. The greatest gift I can imagine our nurses could receive on a day as special as this is improving nurses pay and their working conditions.

Thinking of a career in nursing?

Learn how to work with patients, clients, and their families and care for people during some of the most challenging times in their lives.