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Former nurses and current nursing staff celebrated International Nurses Day at Mareeba. Images: Lynne Mowbray.

Mareeba celebrates International Nurses Day

Lynne Mowbray | Nurses, past and present celebrated International Nurses Day, at Mareeba Aged Care in Maclean, last Friday. International Nurses Day is celebrated each year on May 12 – the anniversary of Florence Nightingales birth; however residents and staff at Mareeba celebrated this year’s event a day early. Three former nurses; Dorothy Scott, Laura Nightingale and Heather Roffe who now reside at Mareeba, attended the special morning tea. Dorothy Scott, was given the honour of cutting the celebratory cake, before the three ladies settled in to enjoy their morning tea and to reminisce about their nursing life. Heather 96, said that she did her nurses training in Murwillumbah before being sent to Sydney,” Heather said. “I did my midwifery at Crown Street Women’s Hospital before being sent to Concord Hospital. “We had a lot of post war patients there. “Back in those days we had a better and closer working relationship with the doctors. “Nurses would pick up on things that the doctors didn’t and they depended on us to do that. “They respected us and our opinion and most of the time they took notice. “Back then, nurses ‘lived in’ at the hospital and you made friends because you all lived together. “They were the good days – we lived a different life to everyone out on the street,” she said. Laura 87, said that she started her nursing career later than most. “I was 30 when I began nursing, which was very late,” Laura said. “I did my midwifery at Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital. “I got on well with the matron because I was older than the other girls and she said that I set a good example. “During my nursing career I was sent to Papua New Guinea, where I worked in the highlands for about seven years,” she said. Dorothy 92, said that prior to going into nursing she worked as one of the secretarial staff for the then Governor General of Australia Lord Gowrie, but walked away from the job to become a nurse. “I always wanted to be a nurse,” Dorothy said. “I finished my nurses training in 1949 and have been a nurse ever since. “During my career I spent five years nursing in Papua New Guinea; it was pretty scary up there. “Back then you were always very careful about hygiene and cleanliness; we use to have to scrub the walls in the theatre. “Things were a lot stricter back then; your hair had to be totally tucked away under your hat and there were no earrings allowed and no makeup. “The last position that I had, which I retired from, was the Deputy of Nursing at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane. “You never really retire though – once a nurse, always a nurse. “Surrounded by nursing staff in here (Mareeba), you still feel like you want to be back in uniform yourself. “I still have friends from back in those training days. “My years of nursing, were the best years of my life,” she said. Dorothy was not the only one to feel this sentiment; both Laura and Heather nodded and wholeheartedly agreed.
Veteran nurse Dorothy Scott cut the celebratory cake.
Former nurses, Heather Roffe, Laura Nightingale and Dorothy Scott reflect on their lives as nurses, over a special morning tea to celebrate International Nurses Day.