Achieve in Action: Susan Crux
Susan Crux began her extensive career in nursing more than 50 years ago in Victoria. However, her passion and interest in working with people with disability and their families started much earlier.
“I was in Year 3 at school and there was a little girl in kindergarten who had epilepsy,” explains Sue. “She liked me and we developed a friendship, so when she had a seizure the teacher used to ask me to sit with her. That’s when I started taking an interest in people with disability, so I was very young.”
The pair’s friendship continued for many more years throughout their schooling life, paving the way for Sue’s lifelong passion to support people with disability. Along the east coast of Australia, Sue went on to hold senior nursing positions in the disability, aged care and mental health sectors, but always returned to work in the disability sector.
“Over the years, I was always drawn back to working with people with disability,” says Sue who worked at NSW Family and Community Services (FACS) before the transition to Achieve Australia in 2018. “I’ve known many families here at Norton Road since the 1980s and we have developed a level of trust that takes time to build. It’s been a privilege to work with the families over the years.”
Maintaining close contact with families is important to Sue as well as ensuring clients have a choice and a say in how they live their lives. “When the clients get involved and take part in the meetings to make their own choices, it pushes me further,” says Sue. “To watch people try new things, grow and make mistakes, but then dust off and try again. That’s what keeps me going every day.”
During her career, some of Sue’s greatest memories and proudest moments have been helping clients take part in important life events with their family and friends. Attending occasions such as weddings, milestone birthdays, cultural festivals and funerals, as well as supporting people to take their dream holidays overseas, has made a difference to many people.
“As a team, we really work hard to keep everyone connected with family, friends and the community. It may be something that we take for granted to go to a family gathering, but it’s really important for clients to stay connected,” says Sue.
Supporting and nurturing her team is a big part of Sue’s current role as Residential Unit Nurse Manager at Norton Road. In the many years since she has been leading nursing teams on the frontline, Sue has seen major changes take place in the disability sector.
“There have been huge changes in the sector, which are going in the right direction. Today people with disability have more rights, there are earlier diagnoses, better medical treatments, and improved staff training,” says Sue. “But there is still always room for improvement. We are getting better at the NDIS, which has improved over time, especially since we can work more closely with Support Coordinators as a key link to the NDIA.”
After an incredible contribution to the disability sector supporting many people to lead better lives, Sue is now 71 and will be retiring from Achieve Australia in December 2020.
As for what’s next, Sue looks forward to spending more time with her family and volunteering for a local charity, which supports programs for women and girls around the world.
We wish Sue the very best in her next chapter and sincerely thank her on behalf of the many clients, families and staff who have been positively impacted and inspired by her leadership, guidance and support over the years.