Hariz would never ask his people to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. He manages a big team at one of our largest care homes, and it’s often a challenging role. But Hariz does it with style. His empathy, warmth and positivity make him a crucial part of our North Adelaide team. We couldn’t imagine the place without him, and thankfully, Hariz feels the same about us!

When caring is your calling

Hariz was just 17 when his life’s purpose became clear. Back then, he and his parents lived in a block of flats in Singapore. Every day, when passing the ground floor’s communal area, Hariz would say hello to the retirees who gathered there. One day, however, Hariz realised one of the ladies was missing. Upon hearing she was ill, he rode the elevator to see her.

“This lady, she was alone at home, sick and in bed with no one around her. I realised she could potentially pass away alone. When someone is born, we all rally around, but when someone passes away, there is not enough recognition. That’s a very sad, lonely feeling. That’s when I felt I wanted to be able to help this lady, and at the end of the day, I wanted to specialise in palliative care.”

So, after finishing high school, Hariz started his Nursing Diploma at Nanyang Polytechnic, an institute renowned for its nursing program. On completing his degree, Hariz, like all male Singaporeans, was required to undertake two years of national service. After completing his national service, Hariz migrated to Australia, settling in Adelaide, where he could pursue his chosen career path.

And we’re so glad Hariz made Adelaide his home because soon after arriving, he became part of our team!

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From Carer to Clinical Nurse

Hariz initially joined us for his student placement at our Lightsview Home, while undertaking further nursing studies. On completing his placement, he came on board as a Care Worker, due to limited nursing vacancies at that time. Juggling university and work was a challenge, but when Hariz finished his studies and stepped into a nursing role, he found plenty of support.

“Helping Hand has a wonderful transition program from caring to registered nursing. It was a big jump, but I had so much support from all the managers and even some of the executive team, who came down to see me and made sure I was doing okay. Having support and constructive feedback was really helpful in my whole transition to practising nursing.”

Now, as a Clinical Nurse at our North Adelaide Care Home, Hariz manages a busy team of Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses and Care Workers. The Care Home has more than 150 residents, two high-care zones and a Memory Support Unit (specifically for people living with dementia). It’s challenging and demanding work but Hariz is the perfect person for the job. Not only does he bring the clinical skills, but he also values the relationships he gets to build with residents.

“In a hospital environment, as soon as you make a connection with a client, they’re discharged or moved to a different ward. Whereas here, it’s different. You actually get to know the residents, and they will share their stories with you. It becomes like a community, almost like a family.”

Hariz’s managerial responsibilities mean he’s often behind a desk, but you’ll still find him lending a helping hand to the floor team whenever needed, whether that’s dispensing medication or serving breakfasts. Because for Hariz, supporting his team is what true leadership means.

“I’m thankful for all the staff who show up each day, and I have a lot of fun working with them and chatting with residents. It all starts at the ground level; with my staff, it’s a two-way street – they work for me, and I work for them, too.”

Stepping onto the floor also allows Hariz to keep his clinical skills sharp. And most importantly, it means he retains a powerful connection to the mission he set for himself as a 17-year-old.

“Our goal is to make sure that towards the end of your life is the best part of your life. Everyone who comes to Helping Hand is well-looked-after; they should be comfortable and pain-free.”

A team that gets the job done

Hariz knows he makes a difference at Helping Hand, even though his work isn’t easy.

“Coming to this role every day, I feel empowered. I feel the impact I make here. Even the residents in our memory support unit, their faces light up, and their body language changes when they see a familiar face. At the end of the day, we are here for the residents, and this is their home.”

Hariz’s motivation to build a career at Helping Hand has just as much to do with his team as with the meaning he finds in his work. He notes, with justifiable pride, that his team has an incredibly low usage of agency staff compared to the sector as a whole. And that’s 100% down to the culture Hariz, his fellow leaders and the wider team have built.

“Honestly, I work with such a good team. I would not trade that in to work anywhere else. The people at Helping Hand play such a huge role in making a big difference. I know who the executive team is here. I know who I’m working for. That kind of personal touch is crucial. And because of that, I’m happy in my role.”

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