FORMER and current Bundaberg nurses joined their counterparts from across the country and overseas for the Bundaberg International Nurses' Reunion at Brothers Sports Club yesterday.
The 150 nurses shared stories and reminisced about the past as they enjoyed lunch and heard from a guest speaker, CQUniversity Bundaberg school of nursing and midwifery senior lecturer Pam Savage.
Event organisers Shirley Kidd, Margaret Olsen and Jo Keogh were more than happy with the turnout.
"The feedback from the guests has been really wonderful," Mrs Kidd said
"We are extremely happy that all of our hard work has paid off."
Mrs Olsen said it was lovely to have guests from all over the world at this year's event. "There are nurses here who haven't seen each other since they trained together," she said. "It's like a school reunion."
Things have changed since most of the nurses completed their training, which many of them described as more hands-on and less academic.
Dr Savage encouraged support for modern nurses who she believed were doing it tough.
"For most of the nurses here today who began training 50-60 years ago, it is a very different system today," she said. "With such workforce shortages (today's nurses) feel very stressed and are battling a system that is resources and finance poor."
Despite the challenges, Dr Savage said patient care was still top priority for nurses.
Retired nurse Anne Williamson was a nursing supervisor at the Bundaberg hospital for almost 30 years and said things had certainly changed.
"We used to work on wards with 34-36 patients with just three nurses and one sister, who knew everything about every patient," she said.
For former Papua New Guinea nurse Sao Kiddie the event had inspired her to return to nursing. Moving to Bundaberg from PNG for her children's education, Ms Kiddie has been unable to work as a nurse due to visa restrictions.
But she was so inspired by Dr Savage's speech and the nurses she met at the reunion, she decided now might be the time to study in Australia.
"I still feel I have something to give back to nursing," she said.
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