This month we spoke to April Neho, one of NOW's Registered Nurses. Before becoming a full-time nurse, April was an international opera singer!
What is your role at NOW?
I am a Registered Nurse.
How long have you worked at NOW?
What does your role involve?
I am a registered nurse, and I mainly work afternoons. I visit all of NOWs afternoon patients, in addition to seeing a number of morning patients. At Nurses On Wheels we provide a phone service until 6pm each day – I carry the phones to ensure our patients get the very best of care.
How long have you been a nurse for?
I commenced nursing straight after leaving high school. I originally had intended to study music but my mum convinced me to go to nursing school first, and then onto music school.
What did you do after graduating as a nurse?
After graduating as an Enrolled Nurse, I spent a year in London at Trinity College studying Voice and Piano Forte, before returning to New Zealand to gain a double degree from New Zealand School of Music in the late 90’s. In 2000, I graduated with a BA Music in Voice and Piano Forte and a second BA in Music Theory and History.
I worked as a nurse while studying which was fantastic – I was the only one among my friends with a great job.
In 2000 I joined the New Zealand Opera Company as an emerging artist. In 2001 I spent a year in Montreal Canada, participating in an indigenous exchange program with the Montreal Opera Company which was amazing.
In 2002 I moved to London for a year again to live and work.
In 2003 I came to Australia to work as a resident in the Australian Opera Company for a year.
I decided to stay in Australia after completing my year with the Australian Opera Company because I met my ex-husband and got married. I was either going to stay in Australia or move back to Canada. I have no plans to ever return to NZ to live. As my children are Australian, with an Australian father, I will remain here.
Since then I have performed in numerous places whilst working full time as a mental health and aged care nurse.
I graduated from Sydney University in 2010 with a Masters of Nursing.
Now that you work full time as a nurse, how do you continue working in music?
I am currently on the Rockdale Musical Society’s committee, which involves a lot of fundraising and planning work, as well as performing. I really enjoy it, and my two daughters, 9 and 6, take part in all of my performances, making it a family affair.
What is your favourite Opera?
Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro is my favourite. I performed it in New Zealand several times.
What do you like about your job at Nurses on Wheels?
It is enjoyable and interacting with the patients is very rewarding.
What are some of the challenges you face, and how do you overcome these?
As the afternoon nurse I start a little later in the day and I don’t see the same morning patients every day – instead I see an assortment of patients. Sometimes morning patients are not aware that I am visiting them, so I make sure to call them when I start the day to let them know what time I am arriving. As long as they are reassured that you are coming, they are ok.
How do you see the upcoming changes in Aged Care impacting your job?
I believe that nursing will always be the same. The fundamentals, patient centric care will not change. We may have to learn some additional skills to address the changes, but the way that I care for my patients will not change.
Watch April sing Carmen