DR JANICE HERBERT: National award for her work in aged-care sector.
DR JANICE HERBERT: National award for her work in aged-care sector.

Nurse a leader in home care

By Dawn Cohen

The horror of forcing a frightened old lady into a bath 45 years ago changed Dr Janice Herbert's life.

Now the Ballina nurse has won a national award for a career dedicated to changing attitudes towards the elderly in care.

"My first job was in a Staterun ward," the chair of St Andrew's Village board said.

"I remember this very old lady, Mrs Burns, screaming when we bathed her.

"We had to do it as part of our job. I didn't know then why I was horrified, but now I know how inhumane it was."

A fortnight ago, Dr Herbert was acknowledged with an award for excellence from Aged and Community Services Australia, a peak body for non-profit agedcare facilities.

As an adviser in gerontology to the Commonwealth Department of Health, followed by numerous other consultancies, she has shaped the policies that now provide greater dignity to ageing Australians.

"I like to stir up knowledge," the Ballina Rotarian said.

"Nurses often learn by rote what people need.

"I try to help them think about that knowledge and apply it in real-life situations.

"After all these years, it feels very special to get individual recognition with this award."

The 64-year-old, who completed her PhD four years ago, was appointed to the newly-formed North Coast Area Health Advisory Council last week. "I want to keep giving," she said.



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