It is all possible!

From Nursing to Real Estate, on a journey that wasn’t a straight line

Transferable Skills | Crystal Brandon

The link between nursing and real estate is not an obvious one until you dig deeper into Crystal’s story…

After high school Crystal dabbled in a few different jobs to see what would capture her interest, she was smart, creative and needed a challenge.

While working as a junior in a law firm she was given the task of making a landscaper bankrupt over a $2500 debt. For Crystal that was heartbreaking and not the kind of environment she wanted to be in. Helping people became a huge motivator for her and with that she pursued nursing.

Crystal was the first in her family to go to uni and if it hadn’t been for the support and guidance of the University of Wollongong Shoalhaven Campus Staff, she may not have pushed through:

“There were a few hurdles to jump through and they nurtured me through all of them.”

“If I hadn’t had that support, or if I’d needed to travel to another campus and had no time to work, there is no way I could’ve got through that degree.” She noted.

Crystal went on to work at St Vincent’s hospital, where her mum had started decades earlier, she did a stint in aged care and later at Shoalhaven Hospital – before and just after, the birth of her son.

Some heavy presentations in the Emergency Department were a lot to take emotionally for a new mum and Crystal decided to step back and consider what was next. As she wondered where to begin, a call from Sian at Stella Studios in Nowra couldn’t have come at a better time.

Crystal, who had studied at the Australian Institute of Music in high school, had sent Stella Studios her CV 6 years earlier and now Sian needed a singing teacher. She was adamant Crystal was the woman for the job and that belief gave Crystal the confidence boost she needed to thrive and challenge her thinking around what’s possible.

Soon after, COVID hit, presenting new challenges and new opportunities. Crystal’s husband, a real estate agent, began working from home. He was busier than ever as the mass exodus from Sydney to the South Coast began.

Crystal offered to help him out initially, but it quickly became more permanent. The two of them were an unstoppable team. Glenn had decades of experience and Crystal brought a strong process driven background:

“As a nurse on a ward you have a ‘handover’ between shifts to clearly explain where things are up to. Glenn and I run through that each morning over coffee to make sure we are both up to date with any new information.”

“We also follow the; Assess, Plan, Implement and Evaluate model that nurses are taught. It means we have a carefully planned out approach to everything and that completely underpins our business.” She added.

The pair have consistently scored in the top 10 of regional Ray White real estate agents in Crystal’s time and have gone from selling 20 to 50 houses a year.

Soft skills are the other major factor involved. As a nurse Crystal dealt with people from all walks of life and needed to build trust and rapport within a matter of minutes.

She recalls a time while working at St Vincent’s hospital when an intoxicated homeless man presented with a range of physical and mental injuries:

“He was scared and thrashing about, and I needed to strip him down while he held v still or his life was at stake. I looked him in the eye and said, ‘listen to me, you have a fractured skull and I need you to stop moving for me so I can help you ok?’

“The gravity of the situation finally sunk in, and we were able to help him, I’m glad I had the emotional intelligence to break through that barrier.”

Reflecting on her journey Crystals final words of wisdom to others contemplating a career move is ‘back yourself’:

“Sometimes we get stuck and think this is what I’m qualified in, so that’s all I can do but you can take those skills and go wherever you like with them,” added Crystal.

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