LONG SERVICE: Julia Byrne and Steven McNamara at Julia's party to celebrate 39 years as a nurse.
LONG SERVICE: Julia Byrne and Steven McNamara at Julia's party to celebrate 39 years as a nurse. Contributed

Dedicated nurse retires after 39 years

JULIA Byrne knows the secret to notching up almost four decades in a challenging industry where you see people at their best and their worst, and in life and death situations, on a daily basis.

"A sense of humour is essential,” she said.

Mrs Byrne retired last Friday from a health industry career spanning 39 years, with a morning tea at Wondai Hospital to celebrate the occasion.

Her career started in 1978, working in school dental therapy, before finishing formal nursing training at the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

She worked across several units including ear nose and throat, coronary care, internal medicine and research and finally safety and quality, where she found her passion.

In 2006 Mrs Byrne took on the role of quality manager for the South Burnett within Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service.

She went on to become the patient safety officer for the South Burnett and has been based in Wondai for several years.

Mrs Byrne plans to remain in the South Burnett and enjoy spending more time with her family, while being available to do some casual work for DDHHS if needed.

A group of about 20 colleagues gathered for an emotional farewell, with speakers expressing admiration of her ability to get the job done with a sense of fun, boosting morale and productivity.

Cherbourg health service manager Tarita Fisher presented Mrs Byrne with an original painting titled Bunya Dreaming, created to "bring life and tranquillity for family and friends during gatherings”.