Mavis nursing a career of night shifts

Stawell Regional Health night nurse Mavis Graham has clocked up her forty-third year as a nurse with Stawell Hospital.

Apart from the odd casual day shift and three years leave for family reasons, the Night Clinical Coordinator has worked night shift at the hospital since 1967.

For 10 years Ms Graham was triage nurse for Western Victoria, fielding late night emergency calls from all over the region.

Stawell Regional Health Chief Executive Rohan Fitzgerald said Ms Graham had achieved a major professional milestone.

"Thousands of local residents and families have been cared for by Mavis in the small hours of the night," he said.

"We are so fortunate to have her calm nature and wonderful expertise on the ward."

Ms Graham grew up in Ellerslie, near Mortlake and completed her nursing training at Warrnambool Base Hospital.

She moved to Stawell in November 1967 and after marrying Stawell man John Graham she started nursing at Stawell Hospital the following January.

In 1970 she went on maternity leave for the birth of her first child and "didn't intend on going back."

"In those days women either worked or had children, not necessarily both," Ms Graham said.

"My husband was in a serious accident though and I was back nursing very quickly."

Ms Graham said the biggest changes she had seen in the past 43 years was the merging of the male, female and midwifery wards into the Simpson Ward, and closer liaison with medical specialists.

"In a job like nursing you're always learning. One of the biggest learning curves for me at my age was the introduction of computerised medical equipment like heart monitoring," she said.

"The good thing about working with a younger generation is that they help you learn. The graduate and senior staff are always teaching each other."

Ms Graham mused that some of the rewards of nursing at Stawell Hospital had been seeing patients arrive in emergency and say "thank goodness you're here Mavis".

"Stawell Hospital has given me a lot of job satisfaction and I've had a lot of enjoyment from working there," she said.

"I've nursed some great people and worked with a lot of great staff. I'm pleased to say I have no plans for retirement!"

While making the most of her annual and long service leave over the years, Ms Graham has enjoyed travelling the world several times with her husband of 46 years.

She also enjoys spending time with their five granddaughters.

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