Between them, these four midwives have accumulated almost 180 years of caring for women, babies and families from communities across western Sydney.
From July, Blacktown Hospital midwives Izolda Vaiciurgis, Susela Govindasamy and Robin Corkin will swap their nursing uniforms for casual clothes and officially retire.
As for the fourth midwife, Zareena Atkinson, she was the first to make the leap when she retired in March after a nursing career spanning more than 50 years.
These midwives are a testament to generations of nursing and midwifery after they started their careers in the 1970s.
Their roles have significantly changed and evolved with the adaption of digital technology, advanced equipment, more complexed patients and improved medications.
Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospital’s nursing and midwifery director Marie Baxter agrees with this sentiment, having started her career as a student nurse in 1976.
“Over the last 40 years the landscape of nursing and midwifery has significantly improved,” Marie said.
“This includes the promotion of safe high-quality nursing and midwifery care through research and leadership that drives nursing and midwifery care to keep our patients and staff safe at all times.
“I congratulate and thank these dedicated midwives who have spent a large part of their life caring for our communities.”
Robin Corkin commenced her nursing career at Blacktown Hospital in 1977 when she started as a registered nurse working in the male surgical ward.
The following year Robin completed a midwifery course at the hospital, and continued work as a midwife in the special care nursery, women’s health and postnatal wards.
“I’ve loved working with the midwives, nurses, mums and babies. My motto was to treat each patient as if you were the patient!” Robyn said.
“It’s a hard job and you take home a lot of emotional baggage each day.
“My colleagues were awesome. They are hard-working bunch and dedicated to their profession and I’m proud to have been part of that culture.”
The Blacktown grandmother resident has plans to travel interstate and spend time with her family and grandkids.
Izolda Vaiciurgis has been a nurse since 1988 and a midwife at Blacktown Hospital for the past 25 years.
Izolda worked in the hospital’s antenatal ward and women’s health clinic where she developed friendships with Robin, Zareena and Susela – friendships which remain to this day.
“All four of us worked in the antenatal unit and we have remained friends ever since,” Izolda said.
“I’ve loved working as a midwife and looking after mums and babies. Occasionally I bump into a family in the supermarket and they say to me, ‘Do you remember me? You delivered my baby.’
“I’ll miss the working-life routine, my colleagues and the interaction and talking with the patients.”
Zareena Atkinson started her 50 year health career as a registered nurse working at Parramatta Hospital and then a nursing home.
The St Clair resident completed a midwifery course and started at Blacktown Hospital as a midwife in December 1995.
“The labour ward was amazing and I chose the antenatal ward as my permanent place of work,” Zareena said.
“The staff were helpful and friendly and we worked as a team where everyone helped each other.”
The grandmother plans to visit her daughter in Cairns and eventually travel overseas to visit family when she is able to.
Susela Govindasamy has been nursing for 48 years after training in the UK in 1973.
Susela joined Blacktown Hospital as a midwife in 1990 where she thrived working in the Women’s Health ward and taking care of antenatal, gynaecology and general surgery patients.
“I will miss my friends, colleagues and the patients. We were always very busy in the wards and that’s something that I enjoyed,” Susela said.
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