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Sandra Bourne IWD2021

Kilmore District Health Administration Officer

What is your greatest achievement/highlight/story, something that you are proud of?

After working at a florist, owning our own shop, being a Senior Florist at Government House and teaching Floristry for over 20 years I was ready to embark on a new career. I knew that I wanted it to be people focused and community based. I did not realize that what I was about to embark on was to determine the focus of my working life for the next 15 years.

I started working as the PA for the then Shadow Minister for Health and Housing-Minister Jaqueline Burke at the Legislative Assembly in Canberra. Jacquie was also The Opposition Chief Whip. I was the first point of contact for the constituents, looked after the calendar and all other office tasks. Being in Opposition came with challenges. One was that we dealt with many complaints, usually about the Government! Seeing what we could do to help the people of Canberra each day was inspiring. We dealt with the hopeless and those who were desperate to receive connections to deal with their mental health, with pensioners who needed support financially to pay bills, to helping single mothers find accommodation as they were sleeping in the car with the children. Each story however large or small was treated with compassion and respect. All of this made me think how blessed my life had been. I now know that my time at the Assembly was the inspiration to stay in the Medical field. I loved every minute of it!

Moving to Kilmore to be near family 12 years ago has been one of the best decisions my gorgeous husband and I have made for our family. I gained employment at the Seymour Medical Clinic soon after we arrived. Funnily, the Practice Manager said years later that she wanted to interview me as she wanted to know what it was like working in Government House! My experience at the Assembly definitely carried over into my new job. I worked with an inspirational team of doctors, specialists and administrative staff. We all worked together and were community focused to provide the best care possible. My journey now is with Kilmore District Health and my story continues.

Have you overcome challenges that you have learnt from?

I have learnt that you aren’t born with certain skills. Some people may find that they can be taught quickly as they seem to “be a natural” at a skill or task. After teaching and my own experiences I would say that the more training and practice you have, you can achieve anything. And most of all, have faith in yourself.

At all times I was surrounded by family. We have five children and I really believe I could not have had these experiences without them. It seemed like every day was a challenge, between getting them dressed, drop off, pick-up, dance lessons, football and school. I look back and think, how did we do it! They are all the most precious part of my life.

Who are the women who have inspired you in your life and/or career, and why?

I would have to say my Aunt and Mother. Both came from Glasgow and each of them, along with their families were new immigrants to Australia. They had toughness breed into them. It was only in recent years when I visited Glasgow that I realized what they had given up to give all of their children every opportunity.

The other was the Practice Manager at Seymour Medical Clinic. She is a Doctor specializing in Epilepsy. Her life story, her trials, her ups and downs have been inspirational to me. Her ability to teach, encourage each person she works with time and time again, to achieve, to be the best makes me proud to be her friend and colleague.

What advice would you give to future women and girls in your industry?

Don’t think you are too old or too young to do anything. Each day is about learning and listening. Every experience should be inspiring.

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet, and why?

Being inspired by a book I have just finished. I would love to talk to the nurses who were at Gallipoli and the Western Front. Hearing their stories and experiences and the lives they had when they returned home.

Who is someone you look up to at KDH and why?

I sit near Lisa Carylon. Her ability to deal with every situation, keeping calm and respectful and all with a smile is a true inspiration. Lisa leads from the front and is such a positive member of staff. And she makes me laugh, which is very important.

What is a quote or saying that you live by?

Have courage and be kind. That’s what I say to my children!


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