Nursing the world to health – from Nepal to Wodonga


Today, on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, we celebrate International Nurses Day with the 2020 theme of ‘Nursing the World to Health’.

In the video above, Bupa nurses from across our care homes share why they're proud to be a nurse.

To mark the occasion, we spoke to an aspiring nurse at our Wodonga aged care home, Bhakta Bhattari. Bhakta has recently completed his nursing degree and is in the final stages of becoming a registered nurse.

Born and raised in a Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal, Bhakta was 16 when he moved to Wodonga with his parents and three brothers in 2012.

“Coming to Australia was amazing, but it was also a huge challenge. Life in the refugee camp was very tough, and I had to relearn a lot of things to adapt to the cultural differences in Australia. I made a lot of friends quickly through school and playing soccer,” Bhakta said.

“There weren’t many other refugees in my school when I first moved here, but the following year, there were around 15-20 and I was determined to help guide them through the challenges. I’ve always loved helping people and I see myself as a leader. I’d put this down to my experiences in the refugee camp.”

Bhakta said there were around 17,000 people living in the refugee camp at the time and just one hospital with few doctors and nurses. Even those with the most severe illnesses could take a week to be seen.

“Seeing my friends suffering and dying without sufficient care just made me want to help and give back. Nursing was my childhood dream.”

A teacher at Wodonga Senior Secondary told Bhakta that working in aged care could be a good pathway into nursing, so once he finished school, he started his degree and lined up an assistant in nursing job at the Bupa Wodonga aged care home, where he’s worked since early 2017.

“I’m a really chatty person so I love talking with the elderly residents and sharing my story. They tell me about their lives and give me advice about life. It’s amazing how similar many of our stories are and how much we have in common.

“I have so much love and respect for the elderly, I feel like I’m looking after my grandmothers and grandfathers. This has made it really hard to have to say goodbye to some of the residents who have passed away, but as a health professional we need to be able to manage this and continue on with our job,” Bhakta added.

Bhakta’s passion for helping others is evident through his extensive community work. In 2015, fresh out of high school, he began volunteering at community events for the local council.

In 2017 he established Albury Wodonga Multicultural Community Events where he organises events that bring together people from diverse backgrounds while promoting social cohesion, often funded out of his own pocket. It was this community involvement that saw Bhakta jointly awarded as the 2020 Wodonga Young Citizen of the Year.

Bhakta is a shining example of someone committed to ‘Nursing the World to Health’, and Bupa is proud to have him in our team.

Media reference number: 20/055