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Myrtle Bank local celebrates six decades of nursing

Jenny with one of her gifted paintings.jpg

Bolton Clarke Carinya aged care resident Jenny is celebrating her almost six-decade long nursing career this International Nurses Day.

This Sunday 12th May is International Nurses Day, recognising the vital role nurses play within our communities.

For Jenny, she says it’s a great opportunity to reflect on her career and the people she was lucky enough to help.

“I had always wanted to be a nurse but it wasn’t until I was in high school that it was really cemented in my mind,” Jenny said.

“I started nursing when I was 17 at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and completed a three-year course.

“Then I went to Sydney to the Royal Hospital for Women and did midwifery – once I got there, I knew that’s where I wanted to be.”

For the rest of Jenny’s career she pursued midwifery with her new-found passion of helping women and their babies taking her to the most remote parts of South Australia.

“After my husband Neville passed away, I was in my 40s and I took off to see the world.

“I went to Antarctica first, not as a nurse but as a guest on a boat but that was so exciting that it gave me the confidence to do other things.

“I then moved my work to the Aboriginal communities around the River Murray and then I went up north to the Maralinga Lands where I was the only nurse.

“It was a pretty gutsy thing to do in retrospect and I depended on the Flying Doctors Service who were a great source of help.”

Jenny would then spend most of the 1990s travelling around remote parts of South Australia as an independent practitioner helping birth and care for hundreds of babies and their mothers.

“I learnt a lot from the women in the communities and even though our culture was very different, they were very supportive of me.

“After I left the Maralinga Lands I went even further into the scrublands and that was lovely because the women would thank me with their paintings that I still have today.

“They would even take me out and show me how to get food.

With 57 years of nursing under her belt, Jenny says that much of nursing instincts came from nurturing skills built at home.

“In most cases you depend on your mothering skills when you’re looking after little children and their mothers.

“I looked after people who were bitten by sharks and all sorts of things over my time and I look back now wondering how I managed it all.

“It was all a truly awesome experience and a good occupation to have.”

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