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Celebrating International Nurses Day 2018

03 May 2018 Blog
Denise Leech has been a nurse, working at St John of God Bendigo Hospital for 35 years. This year, in June, Denise will be retiring from her long career in nursing and her dedication to what she likes to call her “work family”.

“I’ve always believed that we are like a work family. I feel that’s why we’ve always worked well through all departments. I’m really going to miss my work family,” said Denise.

Denise’s first job was on the surgical ward, working with the nuns. In her time at the hospital Denise has worked on the surgical ward, in midwifery, in theatre and in pre-admissions.

It was in theatre that Denise spent the largest portion of her time,  working her way up to being the Nurse Unit Manager of the theatre.

Some of the greatest achievements of Denise’s while working at St John of God Bendigo Hospital include:

  • Being the chair person for the first waste management committee which initially introduced recycling into the hospital,
  • Introducing ‘latex free’ gloves to the theatre for improved patient safety. The first one of the St John of God Healthcare group to do so, with all other theatres following suite very quickly, and
  • Completing her Degree in Nursing, having been a hospital trained nurse, along with a Management Course, in which she received an award for best student of the group.

Not only did Denise do a lot for the hospital but she also took part in 7 trips to Tonga, as part of St John of God’s Social Outreach program. Denise accompanied Mr Havea to perform ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) procedures and clinics for the local people.

“It was a fantastic experience. I would also send over packages about every six months, with any out of date equipment which they could use in Tonga," Denise said.

Denise has seen a lot of change, and she says that most of this was in technology along as well as with the number of services provided.

“When I first started we performed very simple services but over the years we continue to offer a greater variety of services to our patients. Technology has gone so far ahead,” Denise said.

Denise remembers, in 1994, when the first laparoscopic hysterectomy was performed in theatre.

“I thought this was just the most amazing thing that we were doing. It was so exciting to be there,” she said.

In June, when retiring Denise won’t have much time to think about missing her work. She has 3 trips planned, including a holiday to Italy with her husband and two adult children, Alastair and Tiffany.

She will also keep busy in her retirement by helping her husband, who has his own business called Timetronics, which travels around Australia and internationally as a time keeper for Australian Car racing.

We thank you greatly for your commitment and dedication to our hospital and wish you all the very best in your retirement.