Eileen Petrie always knew she wanted to be a nurse.
It took courage for the Border mental health clinician, who recently celebrated 50 years in her chosen career, to go away from her family's farming background.
Dr Petrie faced a baptism of fire in her first role on the male surgical ward at Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital after six weeks of preliminary training.
However, despite her passion for taking care of people, it took years in the industry before she found her niche.
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"It wasn't until I had returned after having kids that I realised I was more interested in community and psychiatric nursing than general nursing," Dr Petrie said.
"Unlike traditional nursing, which is very task-oriented, psychiatric nursing involves sitting, listening, and working with clients to identify their needs.
"The mental health clinician works out what the client/patient is capable of doing for themselves and assists them to realise their own potential."
"It's wonderful how we can help clients by looking beyond drugs and immediate solutions to considering their holistic needs."
She obtained a postgraduate diploma in community psychiatric nursing and Master of Nursing Science at La Trobe University and a PhD at Adelaide University.
Dr Petrie is the workplace learning liaison lead and a lecturer in nursing at Charles Sturt University in Albury.
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