Humans of the Hospital: Marie Baxter

“When I was 13, I had to stay in a hospital for 10 days that was two hours from home, so I spent much of the time alone. There was this nurse who was absolutely gorgeous – her hair, her hat; she was kind, and she knew that I didn’t have family with me all the time, so she made a point of spending extra time with me. When I came home, I said to my mum, “I think I want to be a nurse”.

“One year on Christmas Eve, a gentleman came in for emergency surgery for the removal of his bowel. I spent Christmas day with him and his wife, and I helped to make his Christmas as comfortable as possible. I moved jobs a fair bit during my time in Perth, but he would always find me and bring me a Christmas present, no matter which hospital I worked at as an ongoing thank you.

“Another gentleman I looked after had a daughter who was soon getting married. It was a complex case and he was really sick and didn’t think he could make it down the aisle. I said to him, “you have to do it, your daughter can’t walk down the aisle without you”. It took us six weeks to get him to walk down the full length of the corridor so we knew he could walk the aisle; but he did it!

“I believe what makes a good nurse is honesty, openness, having adaptability to any situation, and being able to listen, even when it’s a difficult conversation. You need to be able to hear what the person in your care is saying so you can help them.

“As a nurse, it’s important to remember that you’re not doing it on your own. Some days are really hard both physically and emotionally, but you’re part of a team and you’re all there to support each other.

“I’m really going to miss the people at Blacktown Mount Druitt Hospital (BMDH); the friendships and the daily interactions I have at work.

“I’ve really had the best job in the world.”

After an incredible 47-year nursing career, and just over two years as Director of Nursing and Midwifery at BMDH, Marie Baxter is retiring. She looks forward to going back to visit her UK homeland in the coming months and spending more time with her daughter and grandchildren.

‘Humans of the Hospital’ is dedicated to the inspiring humans working at Westmead, Blacktown, Mount Druitt Auburn and Cumberland hospitals in western Sydney.