Nurse retires after 30 years dedication to Cape communities

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Clinical nurse consultant Marie Barnes worked her final shift at Napranum Primary Health Care Centre after 30 years with TCHHS

Clinical nurse consultant Marie Barnes worked her final shift at Napranum Primary Health Care Centre after 30 years with TCHHS

Summary

  • Clinical nurse consultant Marie Barnes has retired after 30 years with TCHHS
  • She worked at Weipa Hospital for 27 years

Nurse Marie Barnes moved to Cape York 30 years ago for love. Little did she know it would also be the start of a love affair with a job and a community.

The Irish-born clinical nurse consultant worked her final day at Napranum Primary Health Care Centre on Friday. This was after three decades of care.

She spent 27 years at Weipa Integrated Health Service and the past 18 months at Napranum.

“(I have loved) the people I have met, the patients,” she said.

“The work colleagues along the way, I've met some people who I will never forget.

“I've loved finishing my career in Napranum too. Just going out in the community, doing home visits for people who can't come in.”

Marie said she had seen a major change in nursing during her 30 years. Going from just being “doctor's handmaidens” to a very broad scope of practice.

“These days we can do so much more. This is helpful in remote places like Napranum where sometimes there may be no doctor on,” she said.

Her other career highlight was moving into the new Weipa Hospital in 2009 and the growing services. This has given people access to treatment closer to home.

Western Director of Nursing and Midwifery Kindee Lawty paid tribute to Marie's career.

“Her service to the Weipa community for such a long period is a such an achievement. Especially with rural and isolated services and how much they have evolved.”

Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Kim Veiwasenavanua said Marie's contribution to the TCHHS was significant.

“I thank Marie for her dedicated service to our region,” she said.

“Remote nursing is both a challenging and rewarding career. She is a great example of the types of staff we have.”

Marie fought cancer three years ago but is now in remission. She is now ready for the next chapter of her life, travelling Australia with her husband.