group photo of the winners of the International Nurses Day award
 May 13, 2024

International Nurses Day: Meet Leanne Burzacott

Yesterday marked International Nurses Day. At Austin Health, we celebrated the day with an event recognising our 2024 International Nurses Day Award recipients and Leanne Burzacott is one of them.

We chatted with Leanne to hear about what motivated her to become a nurse.

How long have you been at Austin Health? Can you tell us a bit about your role?

I began working with Austin Health, at their satellite site at Ballarat Austin Radiation Oncology Centre (BAROC) in 2020. As a nurse at BAROC, I am part of a small but dedicated and diverse nursing team. Our primary role is to support patients, their carers and family before, during and after radiation treatment. We coordinate care with other health services and professionals, educate patients and their family about treatment side effects, the assessment, monitoring and management of side effects and offer psychosocial support and referrals.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

I wish I could say that I always wanted to be a nurse, but this isn’t the case. I came to nursing in my late 30s after my personal life circumstances changed. I needed to establish a career to support myself and my then 4-year-old son. At the time I weighed up teaching and nursing, believing they would always be in demand and guarantee us long term financial security. I couldn’t see myself in a classroom and so I commenced my Bachelor of Nursing the year my son started Prep. Looking back now, I can’t imagine a professional life other than nursing, so I think I was meant to find my way here.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The most enjoyable aspect of my role as a nurse at BAROC is having the time to spend with patients and their families, providing support, care and empathy at one of the most challenging times in their lives.

What does winning the International Nurses Day Award mean to you?

Winning this International Nurses Day award is an honour but somewhat overwhelming, as I generally shun the limelight. I often had self-doubt about where I fitted being a quiet and reserved person in a loud and chaotic Emergency environment, where my nursing career began. I was reassured by an ANUM, whom I respected highly, that my self-doubt stemmed from my confidence and my ability being mismatched. He reminded me that I was a smarter, more able, more competent and compassionate nurse, than I believed myself to be. To me this award acknowledges that a sensitive and caring, quiet achieving individual is seen, valued and respected in a large and often competitive organisation.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone training to become a nurse?

My advice to anyone training to become a nurse would be to provide the standard of care to your patients that you would want provided to yourself or your loved ones. Remember care, compassion and empathy go a long way.

picture of Leanne Burzacott