Meet Sudha Maridu, who heads up Uniting AgeWell Hawthorn Community, and counts the day the Sisters of St Joseph suggested she change her career from accountancy to nursing, as the luckiest of her life.
The Residential Services Manager has been at Uniting AgeWell for eight years and says she’s never regretted her decision to follow her heart.
“I love making a difference to residents and their families. And I am particularly drawn to those with dementia,” she says. “It’s a passion of mine to make them happy.”
And she describes Uniting AgeWell as her second home. “The residents speak so warmly to me, as if they are my family members.”
Sudha grew up in India, and started her career as a computer engineer before moving to Australia in 2009 to study a Master’s degree in Accounting and Business Administration.
And it was while studying that she worked part-time as a personal care worker at a Catholic aged care facility to help make ends meet. She was tapped on the shoulder by the Sisters of St Joseph, who told her “You’re very good at caring for people, and are very compassionate.”
And the Sisters dispensed some sage advice; which Sudha translated as, “Consider dumping accountancy and follow your heart and become a nurse.”
“They cherry-picked me,” says Sudha simply. “I was loving my job as a personal care worker, so it didn’t take much convincing.”
Sudha promptly switched to a nursing degree - and the rest is history!
On the home front, Sudha is married to a policeman, has two children and loves gardening, window shopping for boutique décor and Rock Hudson movies. And she's a dab hand in the kitchen, specialising in Indian and Chinese fusion cuisine, making sure not to hold back on the chilli.
And her advice to those wanting a career in aged care: “You are always surrounded by lovely staff who make you feel welcome, and beautiful residents who you can learn a lot from. It’s a very multicultural environment. Nursing requires multi-talented skills and there is always amazing opportunity for career growth.”
How’s that for putting a heart emoji in the career balance sheet!