Like many working mothers who juggle their job and family commitments, Bandhana ‘Bandy’ Prasad put her career aspirations on hold so she could focus her energy on raising her three children.

Having long harboured a desire to study nursing, Bandhana wanted to put her role as a mother first.

“Even though my husband has always been supportive of me doing study, I wanted to be there for my kids, as they were all in school and I wanted to make sure they got through their schooling first before I did any study,” she said.

During these years, the devoted mother-of-three secured a job as a Multiskilled Carer at Juniper Ella Williams Residential Aged Care Home, which afforded her the flexibility to work within school hours so she was still able to do school pick-ups and help with their homework and extracurricular activities.

“I gave my time to my kids as they were growing up, but then when they are grown up, I will take time for myself,” she said.

After 17 years of raising her children, who are now adults with careers of their own, in 2017 Bandhana finally took the opportunity to follow her dream to study nursing, with full support from her family.

“I had a lot of support from my husband and kids, I even had my daughter say ‘Mum, have you finished your assignment? When it is due?’ so I was very lucky,” she said.

Admittedly, juggling work with study while also looking after her elderly mother-in-law was no easy task.

“At the time, I was doing night-shift, I was studying, I was looking after my mother-in-law, I had so many things but we worked it out,” she said.

With full support from her family and colleagues at Juniper, Bandhana went on to successfully complete her nursing degree in 2020 and has been practicing as a Registered Nurse for the past two years at Juniper Ella Williams.

This year marking 17 years at Juniper, Bandhana’s passion for aged care hasn’t gone unnoticed, so much so that her manager encouraged her to apply for Juniper’s Transition to Practice Program for nurses, where she could continue building on her skills and knowledge as an aged care nurse.

“It’s been really wonderful to join this program, I’ve already got so many ideas,” she said.

“Now I can understand it more, because I not only have the work experience, but it’s a very practical way of learning.

“And it’s fantastic to meet other nurses, we share our experiences with one another, and sometimes that’s how we learn new techniques and new ideas.”

One of the presiding themes for International Women’s Day centres on Equity, which recognises that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

Bandhana is thankful for the opportunity to grow and develop her nursing career at Juniper.

“Juniper is a wonderful organisation to work for and I have a lot of support,” she said.

Championing equity in the workplace is vital to help grow and develop women in their careers, regardless of their family obligations, culture or sexuality.

Movements like International Women’s Day are an important reminder to value and recognise the skills that women like Bandhana can bring to the Juniper community by providing her with opportunities to reach her career goals while still being able to fulfil her commitments outside the workplace.

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