Working shifts in Westmead’s Intensive Care Unit is a demanding job.
And ICU registered nurse Krystal Rae has an equally challenging pastime – figure skating.
The 31-year-old has worked at Westmead for the past 12 years, and took up the sport of figure skating while studying to become a nurse.
“I really enjoy being on the ice,” said Krystal, who trains four mornings a week, spending 12 hours on the ice practicing for domestic and international competitions.
It is a tough schedule but Krystal would not have it any other way.
“The human body is an amazing thing and if you put your mind to it you can do anything, you can achieve anything,” she said.
Krystal has been skating competitively for the past eight years, and first got into the sport at the urging of a friend at university.
Krystal comes from a sporting family and is no stranger to competition.
“I used to skate a bit when I was young but couldn’t afford any lessons.
“We’ve always had sport in our lives and as a nurse that was one thing I didn’t want to stop,” she said.
Krystal competes in four local competitions each year, including state championships, where she placed third last year.
“I am off to Perth next week for an interstate benchmark competition, the Swan Trophy, where I will be representing NSW.”
Krystal estimates she spends at least $20,000 each year on the sport of figure skating.
“It’s very expensive, as you need to pay for coaching , travel costs, costumes, a choreographer, and regular ice time,” she said.
Travel costs mount with annual trips to interstate and overseas competitions.
“I competed in the Australian masters games in Adelaide in 2015, the New Zealand masters games in 2018.
“I also represented Australia at an international skating camp at Lake Placid in 2015 and I went to my very first international adult world figure skating event in 2017 in Vancouver.”
Krystal returns to Canada this year and hopes to one day attend the world figure skating championships in Germany.
In the past few years Krystal has placed in competition and recorded personal bests.
But these achievements do not come easily, with Krystal training a couple of hours every day.
She also has three top class coaches, all from the international figure skating community.
Each coach has a different role, one artistic, one technical and the other for jumps and spins.
“I think my sport keeps me focused on a goal I want to achieve outside of working and normal home life,” Krystal said.
Are you a Western Sydney Local Health District staff member with a secret life? Share it with us by emailing WSLHD-ThePulse@health.nsw.gov.au or call 8890 9923.