Ballarat Health Services (BHS) recently marked the final “Years of Service” Ceremony after a series of ceremonies held recently.
In total almost 400 staff have been awarded Years of Service Awards, acknowledging 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years of service to BHS.
Marilyn Kearney, Coordinator Graduate Nurses at BHS, received a 40 Years of Service Award, having commenced at Ballarat Base Hospital in 1978 working in the Surgical Ward (Y2), the Private Ward (Y4) and Orthopaedics (Y1). Marilyn left her position as the Charge Nurse (Nurse Manager) of orthopaedics and joined the Nursing Education department in 1982 to begin teaching in the hospital based nurse training system. In 1987 when the first Graduate nurse program began, Marilyn became the coordinator of the program.
Marilyn completed her Bachelor of Health Science in 1989 and her Masters of Education and Training in 2005. She has also completed various other credentials whilst working at BHS, including Breast Self Examination Facilitator training with the Cancer Council and is an Accredited Breast Care Nurse.
She has worked in various areas during her career at BHS, whilst coordinating graduates. These include equipment, resource nurse, waste management innovation and implementation, and Project Officer of the Inter-Professional Graduate Program double degree Nursing/Paramedicine project.
“I am passionate about graduate nurses and their transition and I have a dedicated interest in their growth and development,” says Marilyn, who has influenced over 2000 nurses and other staff in the years that she has been involved in education.
“Being able to work with graduates, inspire enquiry based learning, reflective practice, professional pride and embody evidence based practice and lifelong learning, makes coming to work every day worthwhile. If I can instill in graduates that the most important thing is Quality Patient Care, then I know I have done my job.”
There are many changes that Marilyn has seen and experienced over her 40+ years at BHS, some highlights include:
- The changes in nurse uniforms. In the late 1970s the uniform was a white dress, frilled cap, tan stockings, white shoes and a cape. This changed firstly by removal of the cap as it was too expensive to launder at the hospital laundry service for all staff. Uniform skirts and shirts, culottes and shirts became an option, replacing the dress. Long pants followed, then three-quarter pants and eventually scrubs.
- Beds were static, steel and one height. The transition to an electric bed was welcomed by nursing staff. These appeared predominately when the Henry Bolte wing was opened.
- The method of teaching in the early 1980s was a lot of “chalk and talk” and printed handouts which faded over time. The chalk dust could be a real hazard so dustless chalk was purchased in an attempt to reduce this. Overhead transparencies became available in the late 80s. The secretarial pool used typewriters and education notices, memos and advertisements were often hand written. No computers!
- In the 1970s, 80s and early 90s nurses focussed on task-focussed nursing. Total Patient Care models have superseded this way of nursing.
- Monometal pans, urinals wash bowls, tooth mugs, vomit dishes etc. have been replaced by plastic. The metal was scrubbed daily after use and sterilised in the ward areas. These have now been replaced by disposable products.
The Years of Service Awards form part of the BHS Together program, which was established in 2017 to highlight the achievements of staff and to celebrate the organisation’s successes, whilst working towards achieving long-term, meaningful cultural change.