By Jack Schmidt
Growing up, I was surrounded by health professionals: my
mother was a midwife, my father was a pharmacist and now my sister is a nurse
in training, working part-time in aged care.
They’re all wonderful, hard-working people – nurturing, compassionate and caring.
Having health workers for parents has had its quirks and
perks. In the first years of life, my
grandparents often cared for me during the day while Mum and Dad worked long
shifts on the maternity ward and in the 24-hour pharmacy.
Old family photos show my parents baggy-eyed at picnics in
the park with me, their chubby infant, sucking cruskits in the grass. I’m in awe of the way they managed to balance
their work with the demands of a restless baby (I was a terrible sleeper).
Their commitment and dedication to their professional lives
has taught me the value of hard work – a life lesson I’ll carry with me forever.
Jack’s mum Juliet Schmidt, working as a student nurse at Royal North Shore Hospital in the late 1980′s
Throughout primary school, we’d stay up as a family and watch the
aussie hospital drama All Saints
every Tuesday night.
I remember learning medical words: epidural, morphine,
intravenous, defibrillator, haemorrhage, cardiac arrest, stethoscope, blood
I learnt early on that a
caesarean wasn’t a type of salad!
At home, I developed an appreciation for sleep and good hand
hygiene. I even learnt how to make a bed
to a hospital standard.
My parents instilled in me an ability to find calm and
maintain perspective during stressful situations. Above all, I learnt the
importance of having a laugh, even if hospital humour can be a little dark.
Whilst I’ve always admired health professionals, I never
thought I’d end up working in the field. At high school I avoided maths and science,
focusing my energies on the humanities: English, foreign languages, history and
Now, having just completed an undergraduate degree in
Communications at UTS, I’ve somehow fallen into my family’s field.
Perhaps Health really does run in the blood.
Jack and Juliet, present day
Whilst I possess zero clinical skills, I now work for the Faculty
of Health at UTS, writing up news stories and profiling Health students with
inspiring stories and experiences.
I’ve entered into this fascinating world of new knowledge
and information, applying my skills in writing and research to promote health
careers to future students.
My exposure to the world of health throughout my life has
made me a great admirer of the humility, stoicism, patience and compassion of
health workers throughout Australia and the world. The thousands of people that devote their working
lives to providing health care to the sick and vulnerable in our society are
Personally and professionally, it’s been a privilege to
discover and share some of their stories.
As the son of a midwife and a
pharmacist, I’ll always have a fondness for this hard working industry and its