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Lesley Lane reflects on ‘humbling journey’ throughout 50-year nursing career

WBH midwife Lesley Lane has retired after 50 years in nursing.

WBH midwife Lesley Lane has retired after 50 years in nursing.

By SARAH SCULLY
Lesley Lane walked into Wimmera Base Hospital in 1968 as an eager student ready to learn the knowledge and skills required to be a good nurse.
She had no idea she would spend the next 50 years serving the same community, as a general nurse, midwife and later an associate nurse unit manager.
Mrs Lane had her final official shift at the hospital last week, however it was more the finishing of a chapter than a closing of a book.
“I’m hoping in July I’ll keep my name on the casual list and go in and do some hours when they’re short,” she said.
“I’ll do that for 12 months, and then I’m not going to reregister.”
Mrs Lane spent the majority of her career as a midwife.
She completed three years of general nursing training in Horsham before deciding to specialise.
She married Kevin Lane at the end of 1971 and the couple moved to Melbourne in early 1972.
“Kevin did national service in 1970-71, so he was happy to move to Melbourne with me so I could do my midwifery,” Mrs Lane said.
“He supported me to go and do my mid and he’s been on the whole journey with me.
“When I finished training at Box Hill I got a midwifery position back in Horsham, on what was then the first floor in the old multi-storey building.
“I’ve been a practising midwife for 45 years.”
Challenges
Mrs Lane took some time out to have two children, Justin and Tamara, but said she had spent all or part of every year for the past five decades doing shift work.

She said shift work could be hard, but came with the territory.
“You go into the profession knowing you have to do it,” she said.
“That’s part of the challenge you take when you go nursing.
“I couldn’t have done it without Kevin’s support.
“When your children are older they have to be supportive too. Sometimes there might be things like school awards or things for them you don’t get to.”
Mrs Lane was a teenager when she decided she wanted to become a nurse.
She said in those days, girls had a choice of four options: nursing, teaching, hairdressing or secretarial work.
“From middle secondary school I’d always wanted to go nursing for some reason, I don’t really know why,” she said.
“I was brought up at Murtoa and I always babysat for two families, who I’m still really close to. Midwifery was always going to be an option.”
Mrs Lane said she had experienced many changes throughout her career.
One of the biggest was adapting to the move from the hospital’s old multi-storey building to the new Yandilla ward.
She said the old building offered midwifery and gynaecology services, whereas the new ward brought a more diverse workload.

“In Yandilla we had to become very multi-skilled because we were doing midwifery, paediatrics, surgical and medical,” Mrs Lane said.
“The midwives who moved from the old ward really had to get their heads around practising and becoming skilled in the other areas.
“Now, it’s just what you do, because Yandilla is a multi-functioning ward.”
Mrs Lane said highlights of the job included working with many highly skilled people and making close friends.
“Like any job it’s probably 99 percent great, and then you just have the one percent, which happens in any job,” she said.
“You come home angry and then you get over it. You still go back the next day. You take the good with the bad in nursing.
“It has been a very humbling ride – midwifery even more so, because when you’re working in a birth room you’re virtually part of a family welcoming a new baby.
“On the downside, you might not be welcoming a new baby, but that’s the bad with the good.”

Midwife Lesley Lane, left, has retired after 50 years in nursing. Nursing Unit Manager at Yandilla Leonie Hoskins presents flowers.

Midwife Lesley Lane, left, has retired after 50 years in nursing. Nursing Unit Manager at Yandilla Leonie Hoskins presents flowers.

Retirement
Mrs Lane said she had no specific plans for her retirement, bar a trip to Broome in June with members of her nursing group and their partners.
“Twelve of us started in 1968. Ten finished and two dropped out along the way,” she said.
“We started getting together every 10 years with our husbands and children, then we have had a get-together every five years, somewhere, not necessarily Horsham.
“A few years ago one of our friend’s husbands said, ‘no, we need to make it every two years, because we’re all getting older’.
“This year we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary.”
Amazing effort
Nurse unit manager Leonie Hoskins said Mrs Lane was a great resource for other nurses and midwives.
“She has an enormous knowledge base and has kept up with all the changes over the years – an amazing effort,” she said.
“We shall probably never see this length of service again because training and times have changed, and people seem to swap careers more frequently now.
“We have a fabulous base of new and upcoming midwives and registered nurses, so onwards we go, but Lesley will be greatly missed for sure.”

The entire January 24, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Jan 24 2018

Posted by on Jan 24 2018. Filed under Community, FEATURED, Health & Lifestyle, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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