Jo’s up to challenge
Wednesday, 17th January, 2018
She’s been a fixture in the health service and on various sporting fields for more than a decade, and Jo Lenton says she doesn’t plan on giving it up anytime soon.
Born and bred in Broken Hill, Jo has played sport since she was a child with her older siblings.
“We used to play backyard cricket a lot, the whole family would get together for BBQs and you’d play backyard cricket, tennis, much around,” Jo said.
“Through school we started playing competitive hockey, basketball, and then more sports as I got older.
“It’s much nicer playing on a team than individually, it’s good seeing people interact with each other and you’re relying on the whole team to get through and win.”
She left Willyama High School halfway through year 11 to begin as a trainee at Hardwick Accountants, and worked there for three or four years before her sister suggested she try nursing.
By this stage she had married her husband, and would eventually have twin girls to raise with him.
Starting as a state enrolled nurse, Jo progressed to a registered nurse, then midwifery, theatre, and at Maari Ma before eventually ending up in her current role as a clinical nurse consultant with the sexual health service.
“I’ve got to meet some amazing doctors and surgeons when I was a scrub nurse in the theatre,” Jo said.
“Scrub nurses set up the operations, collect the instruments, clean, hold retractors for surgeons and hand them instruments,” she said.
“I guess I’ve seen the insides of a fair few people in Broken Hill.”
Jo said she also enjoyed her time in midwifery at the hospital.
“Working with pregnant women and seeing them deliver is pretty exciting,” she said.
“To see new life come into the world and have the opportunity to share that with the women and their partners is beautiful.”
Jo has also brought forth life of her own, and has twin daughters.
Much like herself, her daughters are also very active, getting involved with swimming from a young age as well as hockey, basketball, netball, soccer, and AFL.
She’s been lucky enough to play on the same team as her daughters in several sports, something she loves.
“When they were playing hockey the group wanted a big team, and I’d played hockey many years before so we got a mixed team together and played on the same team as our daughters,” Jo said.
“Then my husband was playing soccer for St Joes and I thought it looked good so we played in the same club,” she said.
“Most recently we got involved in playing football, and I played for about five years with the North Footy Club before transferring to South so I could play in the same team as my daughters.
“I suppose we’re quite competitive when it comes to sport, it’s good banter for the tea table on a Saturday or Sunday night, about what you did or didn’t do, the marks you should have taken.”
For the last 12 years she’s worked at the sexual health clinic, which sees her look after Wilcannia, Menindee, Ivanhoe, Tibooburra, Dareton and Balranald as well as Broken Hill.
She said she’s met some really interesting and diverse people through her work, and appreciates the scope of her role.
“Sexual health education and promotion, community awareness, it’s a pretty diverse role and I’m well supported, I’ve got the opportunity to help people along their pathway and make an impact.”
“Health’s a great profession, I recommend it to anyone.”
Aside from family, sport, and health, Jo also makes time for a small menagerie of pets, travel, renovation work and upkeep on her classic 1954 Morris Minor.
She said despite the car’s lack of air cooling or heating, she loves driving it around and to and from work.
“My husband and I renovate houses now, we’ve been doing it for a couple of years,” Jo said.
“We like a challenge, we’re working on an old house at the moment which was tenanted out and not in good condition.”
This year Jo’s going to continue playing football, but only as a fill in, and is thinking about doing the water running.
She said that while she won’t retire for another ten years or so, she is slowing down a little bit.
“We’re only here for a short time, so you want to make sure you enjoy it and stay active and healthy along the way,” Jo said.
“It’s good to invest time in sport, and have good values around playing sport.
“People have a crack sometimes and say don’t you think you should give it up, but I say I can still move, I can still run so I’m going to have a go at it.”