Back to nursing after 30 years


With a little help from Re-connect, Georgina Hoddle returned to nursing after nearly 30 years’ break and she couldn’t be happier.

‘I never dreamt I would work in orthopaedics but I am very happy in the area and I really love my job,’ said Georgina Hoddle, RN, who returned to nursing in 2005 after nearly 30 years away from the profession.

Through the NSW Health Department’s Nursing Re-connect program, Georgina was able to return to nursing after a gap in her career.

Georgina trained at St Luke’s Hospital in Potts Point, graduating as the dux of her class in 1971. After a stint in aged care, she returned to St Luke’s as the in-charge sister on night duty.

Over the next few years, Georgina travelled between home and Europe, before settling in Italy in 1977.

‘My qualifications were not recognised in Italy so I began my own business in medical translating and conference organising.

‘Over time I worked out of Perugia University and became the editorial assistant on an Italian medical journal, written in English. Though I was not nursing I was always working in the medical field in some capacity,’ said Georgina.

A variety of projects followed including teaching English to military doctors and nurses, as well as collaborating with the World Health

Organisation to collect information on diabetes. This information was eventually collated in a European-wide database called Diabcare.

A few years ago Georgina was keen for a change and ‘felt a strong pull to go back home’. Despite a 28-year hiatus from nursing (with only a two-week stint in 1991), Georgina enrolled in a refresher course through the NSW College of Nursing and then applied for the NSW Health Department’s Nursing Re-connect program, which allows nurses to be in paid employment while they ‘refresh’ their skills.

This clinically focused program requires nurses to be a current registered or enrolled nurse, or registered midwife in NSW. All levels of experience are catered for and programs are tailored to suit individual needs. Nurses can even choose how many days a week they wish to work in the program.

‘I admit I found things very challenging at first as I was essentially starting all over again.

‘I was very lucky to have a great NUM who was very supportive and understanding, and even offered me the opportunity to attend a few conferences and courses, which helped a lot,’ said Georgina.

Now working three days a week at RNSH, combined with teaching and tutoring in French and Italian, Georgina is keeping herself busy and even has her sights set on more study.

‘I like to be involved and active within the nursing profession – I attend various discussion groups and conferences and I was even asked to give a lecture to the research and innovation group here at Royal North Shore,’ said Georgina.

Joking that you ‘can teach an old dog new tricks’, Georgina advises nurses to get active and to be informed.

‘Going back to nursing has opened a new world to me – if I can do it, anyone can,’ she said.

For more information on Nursing Re-connect call toll-free on 1800 330 933.