Joy Nugent (nee McClintock)

MBC 1952–1955Joy Nugent

Joy Nugent graduated as a nurse from Princess Alexandra Hospital, and travelled overseas to work in Canada before studying midwifery in Scotland and private nursing in England. This overseas nursing experience proved to be invaluable to her future career choices. While in England, she met and married Australian Michael Nugent. They returned to Adelaide where she became a 'home' mother to their four children.

For many years, Joy was fulfilled in her role as a loving and caring mother; however, there was a restlessness in her that prodded her back to nursing. A shortage of nurses meant that she was able to complete a refresher course at a large teaching hospital. Once again, Joy found that there was a fear of death and a distancing from death, which were masked behind hospital procedures, and she felt that there was not enough done to help the dying person and their relatives to deal with the reality of the impending death. This reinforced the strong call that she felt to nurse the sick and the terminally ill in the most caring ways possible - listening to their desires, creating an atmosphere for their comfort, and where possible, granting their requests.

Joy used the experiences, as a catalyst to start a community nurse practice, a model which provides care for the seriously ill and aged in their own home to complement or replace institutional care. Her practice which began in 1987 was called Private Palliative Care Services. Today this care continues through NurseLink Foundation which employs nurses for case coordination and supervision of carers.

Joy was awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Bereavement and Pallative Care Counselling in 1994 from the Department of Medicine, Adelaide University. Her initiative in being the first 'private' palliative care nurse in South Australia at the age of 49 is not surprising. In a recent small business profile she says – "I'm not good at just fitting into an institution and just sticking to the rules. There has always been something in me that was 20 years ahead of my time." Joy aspires to give nurses the opportunity to employ themselves and to bring the 'heart' back into nursing. She thought her professional working life would change in January 2007, when she gifted her nurse practice to the not-for-profit NurseLink Foundation. This is not so, as today she is still working as a nurse consultant and honorary CEO for the Foundation and has recently been awarded a Diploma in Clinical Hypnosis.

Public recognition of Joy's vocational achievements came in 2007 with two awards – firstly, Social Entrepreneur of the Year for the Central Region of Australia by Ernst & Young. This award honours entrepreneurs for applying practical, innovative and market-orientated approaches to effect positive social change. She was recognised for her achievement in providing a model of care, pivotal on nurse supervision, for people receiving a palliative care approach to care in their own home. The second was A Woman of Distinction award from the Asia Pacific Business Women's Council. This award was in recognition of the International training programs she organised, and participated in, for the community-based Sandakan Hospice, East Malaysia for more than 10 years.

Joy's contribution to the nursing profession and to the needs of the dying in the community is invaluable. She displays courage, offers hope and continues to make a very significant difference to the lives of people across Australia.

Joy was awarded the Moreton Bay College Medal in 2008.  

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