For almost half a century Lyn McTavish has dedicated her working-life to the health and wellbeing of others.
The Mackay Base Hospital endorsed enrolled nurse recently turned 80 and has no immediate plans to retire, although she knows the time to make that decision is looming.
“Each year I say I won’t re-register but as long as I can still do my job I’ll keep working,” Lyn said.
“Nursing is a wonderful profession that can take you anywhere and everywhere.
“It’s a real-world job that keeps your feet firmly planted on the ground and is such a good life-teacher.”
Lyn’s decision to train as a nurse in 1974 was initially to provide a suitable balance for her family.
Little did she know nursing would become a life-long career taking her across two states and influence her three daughters and granddaughter to follow the same career path.
“Back in those early days you were only required to complete 12 months of training to become an enrolled nurse,” Lyn said.
“It was quite a big thing for me to move two hours away from my family where we lived in Trentham to Castlemaine, Victoria.
“For six weeks we had to undertake the study aspect and first stages of training before I started in aged care.”
Lyn admits becoming a nurse is very different these days but said she learnt a lot and found aged care nursing hugely rewarding.
“We had a small farm in Murrabit and I worked in Echuca for a while before moving on to Kerang Hospital where I stayed for 25 years,” she said.
“It was a time where I learnt new skills, grew as a nurse and really felt I was making a difference.”
She now works part-time with the Base Hospital’s Day Surgery Unit completing clinical admissions and monitoring patients in recovery.
“I’ve been here for 14 years and do it because of the people – both patients and my team.
“Patients often come in nervous and I just want to be there and reassure them.
“The team here are wonderful and they treat me like any other staff member, my age makes no difference.”
Lyn’s colleagues organised a surprise lunch celebrating her 80th birthday with cake and fond memories.
Lyn’s cake was made by a Day Surgery Unit colleague.