Longest-serving providers of care look back on work
Two Bunbury nurses have been named as two of St John of God Health Care’s longest-serving care-givers.
After-hours nurse coordinator Pamela Bilsby and clinical nurse Neville Tonkin are St John of God Bunbury’s longest-serving caregivers, having worked at the hospital since 1976 and 1982 respectively.
This year will mark 43 years of service for Ms Bilsby, who said she had simply walked across the road to the hospital from her flat and asked for a job.
“I was doing my training at Princess Margaret (Hospital) for children and in that time I met a nun who was also doing some training, and she said to me ‘dear if ever you go down to Bunbury and you need a job, come and see us’,” she said.
“I happened to marry a guy from Bunbury, we came down here and I needed a job, so I walked across the road, knocked on the door and saw the nun in charge.”
Mr Tonkin has worked at St John of God for 37 years, having transferred to Bunbury after being inspired by the care that was given to an ill friend.
“My friend was having surgery down here and so I came down to look after him over the weekend,” he said.
“I was working at Royal Perth Hospital in the emergency department at the time, and by the time I got down here in the afternoon, there were two nuns that knew I was coming down to take care of him.
“I was pretty touched by the hospitality and the care my friend received as he was leaving and the after-care was superb — the sort of thing you hope for and believe in.”
St John of God Bunbury was visited this week by acting chief executive officer Royce Vermeulen who said the hospital’s people were central to providing the best that modern medicine could offer.
“Each and every St John of God Bunbury Hospital caregiver makes a difference to the lives of the people we serve through their work,” he said.
“Health care often has people who have been around for a long, long time and I think that is because people really enjoy what they are doing.”
Ms Bilsby and Mr Tonkin agreed the most touching thing about their roles was the fact the hospital still operated on the ethos and traditions of the nuns from yesteryear.
“It doesn’t matter whether the staff changes or CEOs change, the ethos of the nuns and the caring is still here, which is fantastic,” Ms Bilsby said.
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