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Nursing a career with heart, says Bongaree retiree

Cilla worked as a nurse at the Gold coast for 40 years

Cilla was a cornerstone of her community for 40 years working as a nurse and later as Director of Nursing at a private Gold Coast hospital.

Now living at Bolton Clarke’s Bongaree retirement living community on Bribie Island, she may have retired but her community spirit and commitment to her neighbours has remained.

“I was enveloped here because they all knew I was a nurse and there was a big sigh of relief,” she said.

“My husband was the resident caretaker - he was bored with retirement and saw the job advertised, applied and then got it.”

Nursing in the Community Week (12 – 18 September 2022) celebrates the roles nurses take in coordinating and connecting our communities.

It’s a role Cilla has cherished since completing her training as a Registered Nurse in 1953.

“Nursing is all I ever wanted to do, even from a small child growing up in Portland Victoria,” she said.

“I loved the people in my job. One of the biggest things is how you treat your patients.

“To me, making someone a cup of tea and showing compassion is important, and caring about the people you are looking after.”

A mother of three, grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of two, she worked night duty to continue her career while her children were at school.

Later, she revelled in her role as Director of Nursing at a private hospital on the Gold Coast, managing around 300 staff and 214 beds from 1980 to 1995.

“I loved being Director of Nursing,” she said. “I wasn’t a hard DON, there were always two sides to every story, and I listened to them then made a judgement.”

Today, she prizes resilience as something she worked hard on to build.

“You’ve got to get over hurdles and get on with what you’re doing because life is not always easy,” she said.