Sylvia Spink has been a nurse for nearly five decades. (Picture: Contributed)
Sylvia Spink has been a nurse for nearly five decades. (Picture: Contributed)

Burnett nurse recognised for almost five decades of work

AFTER almost five decades of nursing Sylvia Spink doesn't regret one minute of her career.

Mrs Spink has been a clinical nurse based out of Blue Care's Gayndah and Wakka Wakka Jinda Community Centre for the past 17 years.

She has spent 11 years in her current role and six as a registered nurse supporting clients from Biggenden, Eidsvold, Mundubbera and everywhere in-between.
Mrs Spink said despite the challenges and changes along the way, she loves the variety and independence.

"One day I could be co-ordinating care for clients, supporting personal carers, doing admissions and the next I'm out seeing clients myself delivering everything from palliative to wound care," Mrs Spink said.

"I love what I do. Getting to know the community and making a difference every day makes it all worthwhile.

"It's the small things that matter most - seeing a smile on a person's face in a difficult time, hearing a thank you from a client."

Mrs Spink was one of the last trained nurses to go through Biloela Hospital in 1973.

Shortly after, she studied at Mater Mother's to become a midwife.

Mrs Spink said she left school when she was 15 years old.

"Back then, there weren't many career paths for girls - you either became a teacher, a nurse or a secretary," she said.

"My cousin took up nursing and enjoyed it, so I wanted to give it a try and I'm so glad I did. I wouldn't change it for the world.

"Despite the lack of career options at the time, I know it was the right one for me.

"There's a strong family history of involvement in health. My two sisters are also nurses, and my son is a paramedic."

For the past 35 years, Mrs Spink has worked in Aged Care.

When a business opportunity arose for her family in Gayndah, she left her job in Chermside to head back north.

Fortunately, she found out about an registered nurse role at Blue Care through her cousin.

Mrs Spink said she had met some great, unique people, and was sometimes greeted by clients in town.

"There's lots of travel involved. We go from townhouses to rural and remote properties; getting used to technology and no phone reception can be a bit of a challenge sometimes but between all of us we've managed," Mrs Spink said.

"Going paperless and embracing technology is one of the biggest changes I've faced in my career.

"When it works, it's really good - having your run sheet on your phone is convenient, and being able to make a doctor's appointment for a client with the tap of a button is so helpful."

"A highlight was catching up with an old patient of mine on Norfolk Island five years ago. She was critically ill 15 years prior, and it was incredible to see how well she was,' Sylvia said.

"My advice for budding nurses is to embrace it and enjoy it, study hard and take every opportunity you're given."