UOW nursing graduates motivated by mum

It's orientation week for graduate nurses at Wollongong Hospital, but a couple of them already have a bit of insider knowledge.

University of Wollongong nursing graduates Jenna Miech and Lauren Andrews have both followed their mums into the profession and can't wait to get started.

"From a young age, I used to watch my mum getting involved if someone on the street or at the shops fell ill or had an accident, and it inspired me and I wanted to be able to do the same," Lauren, 20 said.

Jenna, 22, added: "Mum's been an intensive care nurse for over 30 years and she's a real inspiration. That's the area I want to get into in the future."

The two young women are among 98 graduate nurses and midwives who will start work from this week at hospitals across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.

Illawarra Shoalhaven district director of nursing and midwifery Leanne Mills said the new recruits would undertake clinical placements in a range of areas over the next 12 months.

"Fifty-four of the graduates will be starting work at Wollongong Hospital this year, with the remainder going to other hospitals across the district," she said.

"We're delighted to have them here, and it's great that a large number of graduates are going to rural and regional hospitals across the state.

"It's important that people in these areas can get the care that they need as close to home as possible."

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said of the more than 1800 graduate nurses and midwives who will begin their careers in 123 hospitals across the state this year, around one-third (630) had been allocated to rural and regional NSW.

"It is in the hospitals of rural and regional NSW that nurses and midwives experience the full picture ... of working in the health system," she said.

Jenna and Lauren can foresee some challenges.

"Shift work may be hard to get used to - I like my sleep," said Lauren.

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