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Fostering kindness at Julia Wallace

Written by Ruthea van Heerden
on September 15, 2021

For Jill Job, Village Manager at Julia Wallace Retirement Village, Palmerston North is home.

“I was born in Wellington and when I was four, my parents moved the family to Palmy,” Jill says.

At 12, Jill along with her four older brothers and parents moved back to the capital. But they didn’t stay long.

“My parents hated city life!” Jill laughs.

Growing up sport played an important part in her life, with water sports featuring heavily.

“We were always involved with sport and I loved water polo, I was in the North Island team for water polo, and I also swam competitively and was involved with surf lifesaving.”

Another thing that featured prominently in her life was being aware of the need for healthcare.

“I think subconsciously the desire to become a nurse must have come from having a family member live with cerebral palsy. It made a big impact on me,” Jill says.
Jill completed her enrolled nursing course and from there worked in the hospital.

“I absolutely loved nursing, I actually wanted to work in theatre, but I was working in the surgical ward instead,” Jill says.

For a time, Jill worked in Neonates, which to her was ‘terrifying’ to begin with.

“I have these big hands and I was petrified to put these wee nappies on the tiny babies,” she laughs. Working with these sick babies was a great experience in her nursing career Jill says.

Jill was then asked to move to aged care where her new journey began.
“It was like going from one extreme to the other. I loved working there,” she says.

“I do find working with the older generation incredible, just hearing their histories is amazing.

“Probably my biggest passion is palliative care, as I have lost a huge amount of my family members, including my first husband over the years, and so it’s a passion for me.”

Jill wanted to make a difference, so she started studying business papers, and after applying for a few jobs she got her first position as a resthome manager in the early 90s.

“I must confess I barely knew how to use a computer!” she laughs.

Over the years, Jill has moved away from Palmerston North and worked in Paraparaumu and Fielding before her first husband lost his fight with cancer.

Then Jill and her daughters moved back to Palmerston North where she worked at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency as a medical review advisor for driver licencing.

“I bought an old 1940s Stucco home, and gutted it, ripped walls and ceilings out, and completely redecorated it.

“It was quite cathartic,” Jill laughs.

After working as a medical review advisor for five years, Jill shifted back to the hospital as a quality and risk coordinator. The job entailed guiding her team for certification during audits as well as launching and overseeing special projects throughout the hospital.

“It was a fascinating and cool job,” Jill says.

Eventually Jill saw the job as Village Manager for Julia Wallace advertised.

“My first thought was I didn’t have a hope in hell,” she laughs.

“Then my husband said just go for it and I did!”

“I was ecstatic to get the job.”

For Jill, working at the village has been a joy over the last year, especially building the team.

“I keep thinking to myself, when am I going to take off my rose-tinted glasses, because having worked at so many other organisations, Ryman just wowed me.

“Ryman is just moving forward at a pace that is incredible, and every time I have reached out to get help everyone has been lovely and the support just floods in.”
But the best thing for Jill is the village team and residents.

“I have a really good clinical team at the village, and we’ve been concentrating on building on our ethos of kindness.”

“At the village you need to eat and breathe the kindness, while you have to make the hard decisions, kindness is our foundation.”

Thinking back on her journey to Julia Wallace, Jill is sure she has found her place and her people.

What more could you ask for?

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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