December 29, 2020

Gillian Walters: 40 years of service

Gillian Walters, Specialist Clinics at Northern Hospital, received an award for 40 years of service at Northern Health, recently.

Gillian has worked at Northern Health for 40 years. She commenced working in the Victorian Plastic Surgery Unit at PANCH on 3 March 1980, after completing her enrolled nurse training in 1979. In 1987, she commenced working in a split role as Enrolled Nurse and Clerical in Wound Clinic at PANCH, and, to this day, Gillian still works in Wound Clinic, as well as providing clerical support to Specialist Clinics, at Northern Hospital.

Gillian’s career started in August 1978 when she commenced the Nursing Aid course at Fairfield Infectious Disease Hospital, which she completed in August of 1979.

“When I completed my course, I worked for about a month at Colac District Hospital, then at Macleod Repatriation Hospital until March 1980. After that, I commenced at PANCH as an enrolled nurse on 3 March, 1980,” she said.

“I started at PANCH in the Victorian Plastic Surgery Unit, where I spent 25 years in Ward 4 West as one of four Nursing Aides that worked there and was the only one left. When I was moved out of VPSU,  I worked in POOL Outpatients for 12 months and then went to 2 North.”

Gillian was then offered a job as Ward Clerk/EN in the late 1990’s, a position which she still holds today.

“I always wanted to be a nurse from when I was a very small child, and as I had only done Year 10 (in my day it was called Form 5), I was only able to be a Registered Nursing Aide as it was called then.”

Gillian commented on how much has changed since she started working at Northern Health.

“From the growth of the Northern Hospital from a small hospital in bed numbers to what we have now, and having gone from paper to paper-less and now using iPM and Qflow.”

Gillian also commented on how her role has changed and developed over the years, and the challenges of 2020.

“My role has changed from working in the clinic as a nurse and clerk, to be on the desk and learning the processes relating to the clerical side of the job and registering  patients, making appointments and working with clinical leads in the outpatient specialities,” she said.

“The biggest challenge has been working throughout 2020 due to COVID-19. Being flexible to be able to work as either a nurse or a clerk has been a challenge, as my role can change from one to another role at short notice.”

Gillian finds working in a dual role to be rewarding, and is something she really enjoys, “I have colleagues that are willing to assist and encourage me in my working journey.”

She also has a message to her younger colleagues, who may just be starting out in the health care workforce, “Take every opportunity that is offered to you.  Be kind and take every opportunity to learn and study for the advancement of your career.”

Picture above: Basil Ireland, Chief Finance Officer, presenting Gillian Walters with her 40 years of service certificate.