International Nurses Day – Meet Melinda Kant and Jennifer Jackman

On Friday 12 May, we are celebrating International Nurses Day!

In the lead-up to the day, we sat down and chatted with Melinda Kant and Jennifer Jackman about their careers in nursing.

Melinda Kant, Nurse Manager Monash Medical Centre, Ward 32, wanted to be a nurse since she was a child.

“I grew up with TV shows like All Saints and Grey’s Anatomy.  I just love the medical field and was very passionate about being a nurse from a young age. I just can’t imagine myself doing anything different.

“I’ve been a nurse for 14 years. I recently became a Nurse Manager in January this year.

“The best part of being a nurse is meeting all the different people in our community, and working as a collaborative team to help our most vulnerable people to improve their life.”

Jennifer is the Coordinator of the Graduate and RUSON/M programs, in the Workforce and Professional Practice Team. Last year, Jennifer celebrated 20 years since starting as a clinical nurse in the Emergency Department at Dandenong Hospital.

“I knew that I wanted to work with people and I loved Health at school. Anything to do with the body, I found interesting. My mum is also a nurse at Monash Health so it was an easy choice for me. I didn’t know if I was going to like it, but as soon as I started, I realised it was definitely the right career path.

“I’m proud to be a nurse because nursing is about helping people.

“The relationships we build and the teamwork you experience as a clinical nurse is incredible. You can’t replicate that anywhere, working night shift with a group of nurses – you become so close to people working in those roles.”

Both Melinda and Jennifer started their careers at Monash Health, serving multiple roles over the years.

Melinda started in the Graduate program and then worked in Respiratory Nursing for 13 years until her current management role.

“At the time, they had a Transition to Specialty Practice (TSP) within some of the medical wards, for me it was respiratory. With TSP I was able to complete my Master’s degree in Nursing. I was able to be a Clinical Support Nurse and a Clinical Nurse Specialist on the ward and move through the ranks helping others develop their career. I also stepped into the management role as an Associate Nurse Unit Manager (ANUM) in the last couple of years as well.”

Jennifer eventually became a Nurse Educator and worked in the role for over 10 years before taking up her current management and coordinator role.

“The variety you can get in nursing and the different ways that you can work in nursing is incredible.

“I found [the Nurse Educator role] really rewarding because you see graduates go from novice nurses/midwives to confident and competent clinicians. It was something that I was passionate about. So to move into the recruitment and management of that cohort was interesting and exciting to me.

“In my current role it’s about looking at our future workforce and building careers, and how that impacts the workforce within our organisation. I’d like to see RUSON/Ms continue to become embedded within the wards, as I see them being a  big part of the future workforce.

“Working with the graduates and the RUSON/Ms has been an amazing opportunity to try a different role and grow professionally.”

Similarly, Melinda has a passion for developing nurses into their own leaders, as a way of improving work culture and ultimately, better care for patients in her ward and the wider organisation.

“I’m passionate and proud to be a nurse because you really start at a very junior point in your career, you can develop and move toward wherever you want to be as a nurse. My passion is in respiratory nursing and now after 13 years, I’m the nurse manager of the respiratory ward. I’m passionate about helping others develop and move on to where they want to be whether it’s ICU, palliative care, or wherever their passions lie.

“My immediate future of nursing is to develop this ward into being the best it can be.

“I have had good mentors over the years at Monash Health, they have shown me what makes a good nurse leader and were able to help me develop my career to where I am now.

“I want to be able to develop my team of nurses to be nurse leaders themselves.”

Thank you, Melinda and Jennifer, for sharing your story. Keep an eye out for more stories about our nurses for International Nurses Day.


Approved by Adjunct Professor Katrina Nankervis, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Executive Director, Nursing and Midwifery

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