At home with our clients

Publish date: 10 May 2023


Every day Annelie Siemens knocks on other people’s doors with a spring in her step.
For the people behind those doors have become so much more than clients to her since she started working as a registered nurse with Bethanie Community.

“You’re not just the nurse anymore,” she says. “Sometimes you’re the only person they will see that day, so you become a friend.”

Annelie takes the time to get to know her clients and is constantly in awe of what they have accomplished.

“Aged care is really, really rewarding. Just last week I met a lady, her dad was one of the first Anzacs. She met the Queen, she met Prince Charles and Diana,” she says. “I look up to them and respect them. You can learn so much about their resilience and how they help each other and take that back into your own life.”

Though Annelie couldn’t be prouder to be a nurse on International Nurses Day – and an international one at that - nursing wasn’t on her radar when she immigrated from South Africa with her family 11 years ago in search of better security and more opportunities.
“It was never on my mind that I was going to be a nurse,” she says. “I had a newborn photography business but with my dealings with the parents who would come in I realised there was a bit of a need for mental health assistance with mums and dads as well.”

Thinking about what more she could do to help people, Annelie decided to enrol in a nursing degree at Edith Cowan University as a mature-aged student in 2019. It ticked all the right boxes, although she had a different goal in mind for when she graduated.

“When I started nursing it was more about mental health but at the end of my degree I was given an opportunity to do a placement in a GP practice, which is community – and that’s where I fell in love with the community aspect of nursing,” she says.

Annelie loves the time that community nursing allows her to spend with clients.

“You go in for an hour to do a specific task but in that time you are talking to them, you are building that relationship, which is something that you don’t have in a hospital,” she says.

“And I think most of us become nurses because we want to care, we want to go that extra mile.”

It's a feeling that permeates Bethanie community’s clinical nursing team. “We are all a friendly bunch of nurses and just love providing quality of care to all our clients," she says. “And it’s evident in our workflow, in the feedback we get back from our clients — they love the clinical care they get from our community team.”

The fact that Annelie’s input is also valued by her colleagues and managers validates her reasons for choosing Bethanie.

“I knew that if I was going to go into aged care I wanted to work for them, purely because of their values – it aligns with my personal values as well,” she says. “I know that when I come to work that I work for a company that will look after me but also look after their clients and that our values align.”

At the top of Annelie’s list of values is caring for your neighbour. "That’s quite important to me to just go out and make sure that everybody I come into contact with I give my best to them. Because you never know what they’re dealing with, you don’t know their history.”
While hesitant to single out favourite clients, Annelie does get to know some more than others, particularly when dealing with those who require ongoing wound care.

“Some of them have chronic wounds so we will see them over a long period of time and you do form a bond,” she says. “You’re there also to look further, look a bit deeper at what else you can offer the client; it’s not just about going in to do the task you are set out to do.”
Being a long way from her family in South Africa makes the bonds Annelie forms even more special. "That’s what I love about the job as well - not having my family here, not having that older person in my life, I can have that connection with my clients and that can fill that void,” she says.

And for those clients who don’t have children or whose children don’t live nearby, Annelie is happy to fill that void for them, too.

It's one of the reasons she can’t see herself working anywhere other than community nursing. “It’s the nursing I want to do forever,” Annelie says. “I come to work every day because of my clients – to know that I can go into their homes and make a difference in their life, that’s my reward at the end of the day.”

International Nurse Day

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