Our new columnist says owning a building company and being a nurse have more in common than you’d think.

Carly Stewart, UNO Magazine

PHOTO BRYDIE THOMPSON

For the past four years, I’ve been a theatre nurse at Tauranga Hospital. In August 2017, I finished my last shift, shed a few tears, said my goodbyes, then walked three blocks up to 15th Avenue to start planning the opening of Landmark Homes Bay of Plenty with my husband, Logan.

It has been a big change, but I absolutely love it. I became a nurse because I wanted to help people and bring joy to their lives. And now I get to do just that while working alongside my husband, who happens to be an absolute genius at building homes, having worked in the industry for about 15 years.

Before Logan and I bought the franchise, we chatted back and forth about every aspect of the business, weighing up the pros and cons of half of our leadership team (me!) having no experience in the building industry. It helps that we built our own home this year at The Lakes, so I’ve got first-hand experience of being on the other side of the counter. But what’s really struck us is how good my skill set is for our clients. Who knew there’d be so many crossovers between being a theatre nurse and the co-owner of Landmark Homes Bay of Plenty?

I’M A STRESS-BUSTER:

In my nursing career, I found myself in a number of extremely tough scenarios where people’s lives were at stake. Thinking on your feet, working very long hours, having a huge amount of responsibility and making tough decisions – I’m really comfortable in that zone. I know how to make people feel calm when they’re frightened or under stress. These days, Logan and I are entrusted with people’s life savings and responsible for guiding them through the complex process of building a home – and it’s not too dissimilar.

I HEAR YOU:

It’s not easy to articulate something you’ve never had to explain before, like the vision in your head of a perfect home, but you learn so much when you know how to really listen. Listening is an integral part of nursing and a highly valued skill – and it’s something I love. It never feels like work to me.

I’LL KEEP YOU POSTED:

Building doesn’t happen quickly, so it’s essential to keep everyone in the loop when everything’s quiet and you’re waiting for things like drawings or council consent. Logan and I made it our mission when we started to keep every client up to date at all times. It’s all very well for a builder – or nurse – to say, “Leave it with me”, but when you don’t know what’s going on, unnecessary worry creeps in.

Over the years, I’ve heard so many people say that building was one of the most stressful things they’ve ever done. That upsets me – it doesn’t need to be like that. I think the best part of nursing and now building has been getting to know people, giving them a calm and kind experience, and bringing real happiness into their lives. And if my new job involves providing a walk-in wardrobe as part of the service? Well, that’s the icing on the cake.

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