Popular district nurse retires

September 06, 2017

Pam Tobias was once a little girl with a dream – become a nurse and help people return to good health.

The Wahgunyah resident lived out her dream and on August 30 celebrated dedicating her life to nursing, including the past 29 years as a district nurse with Indigo North Health.

A large group of work colleagues, family and friends helped celebrate her retirement at St Stephen’s Hall in Rutherglen.

Pam has seen many changes to nursing over the past four decades, but said the one thing that stood out the most was the shift to using computers on a daily basis.

“Who would have thought that back when I first started nursing in the 1970s that computers would play such a big and important role in our everyday work?” she asked.

“I don’t think we even thought about computers back in those days, everything was written down by hand and passed on.”

Pam said 25 years ago Indigo North Health saw a need for Palliative Care in our area and, together with Community Health in Corowa, established the Corowa-Rutherglen Palliative Care Service.

Due to changes to funding bodies and state borders this later became two separate services.

“It was a privilege in my role as district nurse to meet families for the first time in their homes when they are not well and at their most vulnerable,” she said.

Pam, who grew up in Rennie, completed her training at Albury Base Hospital between 1970 and 1973.

Her first nursing job was with Corowa Hospital in 1973.

A year later a football opportunity in Tasmania for her husband, George, took the couple to Burnie where Pam worked in the surgical ward of the North Western General Hospital from 1974 to 1975.

The couple came back to the mainland a year later where they had two daughters and later a third.

While raising her family, Pam did some causal nursing at Corowa Hospital before returning to full-time work.

Pam left Corowa Hospital in 1980 and went to work with Community Health in Corowa before taking a position with Indigo North Health in 1988 where she stayed for 29 years.

“I have enjoyed every moment of my career,” she said.

“I want to thank Indigo North Health for the support they have given me for the past 29 years, giving me opportunities to continue education to provide quality care to families in our catchment.

“Thank you to all my colleagues at Indigo North Health, past and present, for your support.

“I also want to thank colleagues from other agencies that we have worked with over the past 29 years.

“We have worked with many organisations to provide co-ordinated care to clients and their families to achieve the best possible health and wellbeing outcomes.”

One of Pam’s career accomplishments was, some 15 years ago, helping to set up the Service Co-ordination Tool.

“There were many meetings in Benalla with other Home and Community Care agencies in our region and not to mention the lovely lunches,” she said.

“The result was a document that is used across the state today and, although not everyone likes it, when used properly it is a valuable resource.”

Over the past few years of her nursing career Pam has been providing care co-ordination in the chronic disease program, so that all clients receive the ideal care for them.

Pam officially retired a fortnight ago and is looking forward to travelling during her retirement, playing lawn bowls, as well as spending more time with her family including her eight grandchildren.

Indigo North Health’s Primary Care Team Leader Anna Hession spoke highly of Pam and wished her the best in retirement.

“Indigo North Health and our communities have been privileged to have Pam in our District Nursing Team,” she said.

“Pam has been a committed member of our team and a friend as well as colleague.

“Her humour and ‘red lipstick’ will be sorely missed; she certainly brightened our day.

“We wish her all the best in her retirement - lawn bowls, travel and her grandchildren will keep her busy.”

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