AT 71 years old, most people are looking to retirement but nursing graduate Jacky Shaw has bucked the trend and is starting a new career.
Ms Shaw was one of eight nursing and midwifery graduates celebrating the end of her internship in the Clarence Valley last week.
"I just thought it was not time to down tools," Ms Shaw said.
Ms Shaw grew up in Newcastle and said the hardy ways of what was then a mining town helped set her up with a solid work ethic.
"We're all used to working at the coalface," she said.
Ms Shaw, along with all seven of her classmates, has been offered positions in the Clarence Valley's hospitals.
"I will be on the casual register for Grafton Base and Maclean hospitals," Ms Shaw said.
Ms Shaw lives in Coffs Harbour and made the hour-long commute to Grafton throughout her internship.
She said the team she worked with had been highly supportive.
"Everyone has been fantastic, very helpful and very patient," Ms Shaw said. "Of course it's really only the start of a long learning process."
The achievement sits at the end of a life full of interesting experiences for Ms Shaw, who spent 25 years living in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
Grafton Base nursing director Paul Schofield was impressed by Ms Shaw's vivacity.
"It's a fantastic story," he said.
As Ms Shaw finished her year-long internship, another group of nursing and midwifery graduates were welcomed to the Clarence Valley.
Northern NSW Health District board member Allan Tyson was pleased to see the graduate program continued.
"The Clarence Network has 14 new graduate nurses and midwives who will rotate between Grafton Base and Maclean hospitals over the next 12 months," Mr Tyson said.
"We are very pleased to welcome the new graduate nurses and midwives, who have chosen to take a rural placement and work in our hospitals.
"The new graduate nurses will gain experience working across a wide range of areas within the hospital, including the operating theatre, recovery, pediatric, renal, orthopedic, surgical and medical wards and mental health."
Northern NSW Health District chief executive Chris Crawford said the nurses would be essential.
"Nurses and midwives are a vital part of the health system who deliver a high level of care in a range of situations which are often challenging."
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