Inspiring a new generation – three brothers follow their dad into nursing in western Sydney

The family that works together, stays together – literally!

Arleen Ines and his sons Mark, Bryan and Gerard have worked under the same roof for over nine years. Not only do they all work at Blacktown Hospital, they also all work in the same department, Perioperative Services.

You would be hard pressed to find someone at Blacktown Mount Druitt Hospital (BMDH) who doesn’t know the Ines family of nurses.

Together, they have been looking after western Sydney patients for almost 50 years.

The Ines family are part of the 13.4 per cent of nurses in NSW and 16 per cent of nurses in the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) who identify as male.

This close-knit family just love working together, with brother Gerard saying, “the chance to work with my father and two brothers was a dream come true”.

TODAY show segment – 12 May 2023

Arleen, who has been nursing for over 33 years, said he has always been passionate about perioperative nursing because of the specialised nature of the environment; and his sons share this sentiment.

“I have nursed in different parts of the world across different specialties, but perioperative nursing is my first love,” said Arleen.

“When I moved to Australia from the Philippines in 1998 with my wife and four boys, I grabbed the opportunity to get back into perioperative nursing so as to provide for my family whilst doing what I love.”

Arleen has worked at Blacktown Hospital for over 15 years as an instrument and circulating registered nurse (scrub scout). It wasn’t long before his sons started to join him.

Two years after he joined the WSLHD, Arleen’s eldest son Mark gained employment at Blacktown Hospital as a hospital porter, giving him the insight into and desire to work in the operating suite as well.

Mark, who also works as a scrub scout said that “perioperative nursing was my goal to work at prior to attending university”.

Mark however didn’t always have his sights set on nursing; he originally wanted to join the military.

“Mum told me to pursue nursing,” said Mark.

“I have three younger brothers; so, had I gone to the military, she was worried they would all follow me, so I followed in dad’s footsteps instead.”

One year later, two Ines’s became three, when Arleen’s second eldest son Bryan also joined Blacktown Hospital.

Unlike his brother Mark, Bryan always had his sights set on nursing and was constantly fascinated and interested by his dad’s nursing stories.

My father was a great example to me and regularly shared his experiences with us, which is what attracted me to perioperative nursing,” said Bryan.

“I have always been fascinated with human anatomy and helping people, and perioperative nursing was the combination of both worlds.”

Like his dad and older brother, Bryan started his career has a scrub scout, but has since worked his way into a leadership role as a Perioperative Services nurse educator.

“Nursing was the platform in which we could come to this great country (Australia),” said Bryan.

“My dad’s nursing has paved the way for our lives to be changed – and through that, what a great way to come full circle – that we are now also able to give back and serve the community that has given so much to all of us.”

Three years later, Arleen’s second youngest son, Gerard, joined Blacktown Hospital, creating a quadfecta of Ines’s at the hospital.

“We learn from each other and are a great support network for each other,” said Bryan.

For the first 1.5 years, Gerard opted to work in the Orthopaedic and Medical Assessment Unit, however, when the opportunity presented itself for a three-month secondment, he just couldn’t resist joining the rest of his family in Perioperative Services.

“I love the environment, love the team, and working with my family was just too appealing – a dream come true,” said Gerard.

“Plus, if I ever forgot to pack a meal, dad or one of my brothers would get me food before their shift – and it goes both ways.”

Gerard, who works as an Anaesthetics and Post Anaesthetic Care Unit [PACU] registered nurse, says the whole Perioperative Services means so much to him.

“They have taught and supported me to be a better nurse in the perioperative field,” said Gerard.

“We are a team who work in unison to achieve our goals of patient safety, and my manager’s actions, guidance and teachings have made me the nurse I am today.”

Gerard is also grateful to his parents for his career successes, revering their “value of sacrifice and hard work”.

Our parents’ hard work has paved the way for us brothers to provide for our own growing families,” said Gerard.

Arleen’s second eldest son Bryan says he really appreciates having his family at work for the times when he needs to debrief or have someone understand what he’s going through.  

“We learn from each other and are a great support network for each other,” said Bryan.

“We share each other’s understanding, growth, challenges – and understand where each other are coming from.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”