A Tale of Two Nurses – Working Mums Driven to “Do Something More”

New Graduate Nurses Melissa Boehme and Michelle Arndt. Photos: Jake Lynch/BRHS


All of us, at some point, have experienced the ache of that nagging feeling that we are not doing enough with our lives – that there is a greater challenge out there for us; that we are capable of something more.

The truth is, the majority of us don’t ever act on that feeling, and our lives remain much the same.

But there are those who do have the courage to change their lives, and who dedicate themselves to seeking out that “something more.”

Meet Melissa Boehme and Michelle Arndt.

Melissa and Michelle both recently completed their Bachelor of Nursing degrees, and joined BRHS last week as part of our new crop of Graduate Nurses – brand new Registered Nurses (RN) at the very beginning of their careers.

“I knew that if I wanted to be able to have an impact, to make real, positive change, I had to become a fully trained nurse.”

But while many Graduate Nurses follow the usual pathway from high school straight to university, Melissa and Michelle have earned their RN qualification after a few more experiences in life.

Both working Mums of two, Melissa and Michelle also share the experience of feeling, later in life, that they wanted to do more with their careers.

And, they both rose to that calling.

Melissa Boehme

“I was working in aged care, but I began to get frustrated by the limitations of what I could do,” Melissa said this week. “I wanted to be able to do more. And I knew that if I wanted to be able to have an impact, to make real, positive change, I had to become a fully trained nurse.”

New Registered Nurse Melissa Boehme is on rotation in the Emergency Dept.

A self-described “teen Mum,” one can only imagine how hard it was for Melissa to find the time and space to complete a three-year degree while working and parenting two children.

But, with the help of Charles Darwin University’s flexible distance learning, she did it.

“The staff here are beyond amazing.”

This week she stepped onto the floor of BRHS’ Emergency Dept. as a fully-fledged RN.

Melissa said the staff at BRHS have played a huge role in helping her navigate this nerve-wracking and uncertain time.

“The staff here are beyond amazing,” she said. “They have supported and guided me 110%.”

“I hadn’t originally planned to choose Bairnsdale to do my grad year. But I did a student placement here last year, and everyone was so fabulous. It was amazing. After that experience, I knew that this was where I wanted to be.”

Michelle Arndt

Michelle tells a similar story.

Having worked as an Enrolled Nurse in aged care for 15 years, she wanted to push herself to see what else her professional life could be.

“I wanted more of a challenge,” Michelle said. “And I wanted options in my life. Being an RN, you’ve got a lot more options. You can go into different specialties, you can work in other places.”

Michelle Arndt on Rotamah Ward.

Michelle took her first shifts flying solo on the Rotamah Ward this week.

“I’m really glad to be on this ward because I was looking for experience in an acute ward,” she said. “Plus, I’m interested in midwifery, and the midwives station is just down the hall… I’ve already been down to chat with them. They told me ‘we’re always looking for good nurses to become midwives!’”

“I wanted more of a challenge. And I wanted options in my life.”

Michelle is part of the East Gippsland Collaborative Graduate Nurse Program, which combines time at BRHS with rotations at other local primary care and community providers.

Like Melissa, she is full of praise for her fellow staff members at BRHS for making what can be a scary transition into the ward a lot more comfortable.

“All the nurses and people that work here have been really good,” she said. “They’re always offering support. I’m really pleased to have this team of people around.”

To learn more about starting your nursing career at BRHS, visit brhs.com.au/careers/employment-programs/graduate-nurse-program/ or contact our Graduate Nurse Coordinator, Kate Roberts, on 5150 3617 or kate.roberts@brhs.com.au