Nostalgic return to Westmead for 80’s nurses

The 1980’s West Metropolitan Group of Nursing Class return to Westmead before the COVID-19 social distancing and isolation measures were in place. 

Big hair, lycra, dance music on cassette and Star Wars was on the big screen in the cinemas. 

That was the way things were when the first nurses commenced training at Westmead Hospital, known as the ‘West Metropolitan Group of Nursing Class’. 

On 3 March in 1980 a group of 223 students embarked on a lifetime journey and career in nursing. 

Before the COVID-19 social distancing and restrictions were in place, this group of 80’s nurses returned to the facility where their nurses careers began.

Two nurses from this group still work at Westmead Hospital to this day: Sharon Fowler and Rosemary Gainsford. 

Sharon started in the high dependency surgical ward, moved into intensive care and then cardiothoracic intensive care, which has become her second home – even after getting married and having five children. 

Class of 80’s nursing group return to Westmead Hospital where their careers began.

“I still really enjoy going to work, feeling productive and looking for new challenges,” Sharon said. 

“The cardiothoracic intensive care unit is a specialised unit where patients are cared for heart related conditions.  This unit has been through many evolutions, including many moves over the years and now into a brand new ward D3e.” 

Kerry Rouse worked at Westmead from 1980 until 2005 in many roles including Emergency Department registered nurse, nursing roster manager (now called the Nursing Support Unit), Gynaecology Inpatient Unit nursing unit manager and nurse planner. 

She’s currently a health facility planning consultant and has been involved with the new Central Acute Services Building, and is now working with the Children’s Hospital at Westmead stage 2 capital works. 

“When we first started working at Westmead Hospital it was a world-class, brand new building in Western Sydney with new wards, a new design, technology and colour schemes,” Kerry said. 

“We have seen the transformation over the years from the old and new – it’s totally amazing. 

“We walked through the Westmead Education and Conference Centre, which used to be the old staff cafeteria and dining room, and couldn’t believe it was the same space.” 

Kerry said the tour brought back many memories and the group was excited to see how Westmead Hospital directly links to research institutes, the children’s hospital and soon the new building.

“We were all very pleased to have had the opportunity to tour our old facility and see the future of healthcare in Western Sydney, which we were proud to be part of such a long time ago,” Kerry said. 

For information about the Westmead Hospital Redevelopment, click here