- Tell us more about yourself :) - what current stage of life you’re at, hobbies ect.
I'm several years into my clinical career as a Registered Nurse in Australia. I've primarily worked in paediatric and neonatal specialty areas since qualifying and I'm very passionate about optimising health and neurodevelopmental outcomes for children and babies. I made this crazy decision in my mid-twenties to take a degree in Computer Science, which I'm polishing off now. So I'm about to start juggling two careers... I knit prolifically, love to bushwalk and love live classical music when COVID isn't thwarting concert plans.
- How did you first find out about Effective Altruism? ⏲️
I first learned about Effective Altruism through a friend who was studying economics, back when I was training to be a nurse and found the arguments she presented for EA fairly compelling in the first instance. Subsequently, I have been able to attend a couple of Peter Singer's lectures as part of a philosophy elective I took while studying in a new field.
- Why did you decide to work in healthcare? 💊
I think that working in health was a very logical choice for me based on early experience. When I was really young, both of my parents were hospitalised and I think I really revered the doctors and nurses who cared for them both. Working in health also provided me with a level of income security which has been exceedingly important because I'd grown up without much money in an Australian context; training to do something that was not going to directly correspond to a regular income simply was never on the agenda. As I trained in nursing, I fell in love with the depth of the experiences you have when you are fully present with patients. I've learned much more from them than I expect they would ever have learned from me.
- Any advice to others in a similar situation as yours, or people earlier in their career?
I think it's folly to believe that you should somehow have a really clear sense of what you want to do with your career before you've had a chance to try different things out. Some people strike it lucky, but I think many of us don't have a strong sense for what we will like in practice and what will feel most meaningful. Definitely don't be afraid to try new things and keep your options open and be ready to change your plans if unexpectedly good opportunities present themselves.
- What do you think are some of the important considerations when trying to develop ones' career in an effective way?
I think it's fair to say that many of us are looking down the barrel of a very long working life spanning four or more decades. Therefore, I think that pacing yourself and being alert to the risk of burnout or injury is really important, especially when you are working clinically. You want to be able to successfully work for a long time and not crash and burn early. I can speak a lot more to earn-to-give as opposed to using my career to make direct personal impact, but however you decide to approach your contribution to EA, I believe it's handy to have a really strong emotional incentive for doing what you're doing so that you're more likely to follow through. For me, having worked a lot with children has made me so much more happy to give to effective causes that focus on promoting good health outcomes in infants and children, so it hasn't felt like I've sacrificed anything over the years.
- Is there anything you hope to see in the EA-Med network? 👀
More nurses and midwives getting involved, naturally!