Susan Fulton, Clinical Leader

Susan Fulton's passion for her role as a home care nurse is immediately evident when she starts talking about her job.

Working at Classic for more than 20 years, Susan is rarely seen without a smile on her face and a skip in her step.

"I love it because it's productive work that makes a difference to people," says Susan. "That's the stuff that refuels me. That's my jazz."

As the Clinical Leader for Classic, Susan manages a team of nurses. She answers inquiries from people looking for home care, does in-home assessments and regular home visits.

"When someone calls Classic to inquire about home care, I try to give them the time and space to explain their situation and ask questions. I never rush them, never pressure them. If they are in the process of calling several agencies, I encourage them to continue that. I think Classic's dedication to service and safety and our ability to tailor care to each client's specific requests speaks for itself."

Another aspect of Susan's role with Classic is to train, mentor and engage Classic's Health Care Workers.

"A big part of my job working with our Health Care Workers is to listen to them. I take the feedback they give me back to Classic's leadership team and we create change to make the experience better for our employees and clients."

She says the growth and transition Classic has experienced over the years keeps things interesting and creates opportunities for its employees.

She says Classic allows its leaders a lot of freedom and responsibility. That trust element creates an environment where people thrive.

"You want to prove yourself. That kind of leadership allows people to flourish."

Susan entered the field of nursing looking for a career with meaning, something she says she definitely found as a home care nurse.

A bit of a globe-trotter, Susan found her calling early during a gap year of travel. Without a work visa, Susan still wanted to experience the local flavour of New Zealand, and decided the best way to do that was to volunteer in nursing homes. She discovered her gift for easy and natural rapport with seniors. Her volunteer time transitioned into a position running the recreational therapy groups twice weekly. That was it. Her career course was set.

Susan was happy to discover nursing mirrored that warm, fuzzy feeling of helping people. She says it has been a rewarding experience because of that human element.

"Especially working in the community in home care, I know I can make a difference to our clients. That's a great feeling."

In her down time, Susan focuses on her family.

"My family enjoys being outdoors and active. Hiking, biking, exploring. We love camping in the summer and try new spots each time."

That precious time with family provides the right balance to Susan's work life. A balance she says is key for her to set as an example for employees of Classic LifeCare.

"Vitality is Classic's most important value. If you don't have energy and zest for life, everything else becomes a chore. That vitality is maintained through work/life balance. Sometimes the technique and practice of nursing can be routine and sterile, but my approach as a nurse is not sterile. It's human, flexible and personable. That's where you find the vitality. That's what makes a difference to the clients we serve."