07 May 2024

Celebrating 50 years of remarkable nursing


This year marks 50 years in nursing for Residential Aged Care Manager Miriam.

Miriam started her clinical journey in 1974 as a student nurse at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. Her father was interviewed for the position, not her, and she had to have references from a Clergyman or a Bank Manager.

The training was in face-to-face lectures in the Nursing School and rotations through the various wards. At the time the pay was $35 per fortnight and after paying for board at the Nurses’ quarters, Miriam was left with $19 a fortnight. The roster rotations were posted as Standing Orders and there was no negotiation. 

Miriam says, 'I remember asking for a change of shift to attend a funeral once and I was told ‘nurse, your place is with the living, not the dead!’

The training was an apprenticeship system and the final exams the hurdle to jump. Miriam graduated in 1977 with her veil and badge and went to work in the operating rooms at Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) in Sydney. Midwifery followed in 1983 making her a ‘DC’ Sister. Since then, she has added a couple of Masters degrees and a law degree.

Miriam had a wonderful career moving from RNSH to be part of the commissioning team for Westmead Hospital and then onward. She designed and commissioned a private hospital, been part of a team that regionalised Queensland Public Health Services, introduced new models of care for maternity services and managed a state-wide outreach program for specialist services across NSW. Charge Nurse, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Supervisor then Director of Nursing and CEO, her health services management experience took her into the university sector and ultimately to the Department of Planning and Environment as a Regional Commissioner.

We asked Miriam what role she found most rewarding.

Returning to nursing after the NSW South Coast bushfires in 2019-20 brought me full-circle and now, as Residential Aged Care Manager at Estia Health in Dalmeny, where I am experiencing some of the most rewarding and satisfying nursing of my career.

Thank you Miriam for sharing your diverse experiences with us.