Celebrating 35 years of service

Clinical Nurse Carole Lee celebrates her 35 year anniversary of working at St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital and was recognised at a ceremony on the hospital’s annual Foundation Day.

29 Sep 2021

Nurse in uniform smiling and standing in a clinical area

After finishing her nursing training in 1970, Carole remembers her first day at the hospital that was known as St Anne’s Hospital at the time.

“I started at the hospital on Melbourne Cup Day in 1986, after a one-on-one interview with the Director of Nursing and commenced on the Third Floor the very next week, said Carole.

“When I later applied to becoming a Clinical Nurse I was surprised to be interviewed by an entire panel rather than the single Director of Nursing!

“In those days, Third Floor was only an orthopaedic post-surgical care ward and patients would stay for up to 10 days for recovery.

“Now it is both surgical and medical and patients stay for up to five days, and often move upstairs to the Specialist Rehabilitation Service if they need extra support. 

“We used to walk down to the river for our lunch breaks past a huge rose garden that is now a staff car park.”

Throughout her career Carole has seen the people, profession, facilities and even the hospital name change from St Anne’s Hospital, to Mercy Hospital and now to St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital. 

“I have seen a lot of change and a lot of people come and go from the hospital but overwhelmingly most of them come back.

“I am proud that I have been able to keep up with all the changes in nursing and while I enjoy supporting and training younger nurses I think they teach me just as much, it is definitely a two-way street.     

“I have had opportunities to act in other positions including relief Manager and After Hours Clinical Nurse Manager but have always come back to acute care because I enjoyed the challenge, it was part of the fun.

“I was on the very first CPR committee that introduced the training as part of the standard hospital curriculum and the first fire committee that introduced training and practice runs.”

At 74 years of age Carole is planning her retirement later this year when she will move to her new home in Hopetoun, on Western Australian’s Southern Ocean coast.