She’s not so re­tir­ing

Com­mu­nity nurse hangs up stetho­scope but not her drive

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50S - Erica Mur­ree erica.mur­ree@cnbtimes.com.au

LYN Heaton will con­tinue her com­mu­nity in­volve­ment even though she is re­tir­ing, but she hopes she will also have time to pick up a golf club again.

Born in Gayn­dah, Mrs Heaton’s pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion was at Wetheron State School fol­lowed by high school in Gayn­dah.

She started her nurs­ing ca­reer as an as­sis­tant nurse in Gayn­dah un­der Ma­tron Ali­son Shelly and Dr Pike.

“Af­ter a year, and old enough to ad­vance my nurs­ing ca­reer, I started four years of gen­eral train­ing in Bund­aberg,” she said.

“On com­ple­tion of train­ing I mar­ried Leo, con­tin­ued on with my nurs­ing as a reg­is­tered nurse at St An­drews in Rock­hamp­ton, Childers, Gayn­dah, Mur­gon, Wondai and St Ge­orge.

“I found that I also needed my mid­wifery and child health nurs­ing so, along with hav­ing three chil­dren, com­pleted th­ese cer­tifi­cates.”

The Heatons lived in Goomeri for a few of years where they had a butcher shop. On sell­ing they de­cided to go west where they worked at Tambo and Mor­ven.

Mrs Heaton was the di­rec­tor of nurs­ing at th­ese clin­ics.

Leo was gar­dener and QAS driver and first aid per­son.

“We spent five years at each clinic, Tambo be­ing the old hos­pi­tal at that time and sim­i­lar to what our old Biggenden Hos­pi­tal was.

“Af­ter re­turn­ing from the west, I re­turned to Gayn­dah Hos­pi­tal and then we moved down to Biggenden in 1990,” Mrs Heaton said.

“At the time we owned a farm in the Good­night on the Perry River.

“I thought I was here to stay, hav­ing the com­mu­nity in­ter­est at heart, and ac­tu­ally be­ing nom­i­nated for the se­nior Aus­tralia Day award, but in 2007 de­cided to have a break from our Biggenden Hos­pi­tal.

“I went to do six months re­lief in the Dia­mantina, at the Be­dourie Health Clinic but this turned into five years.

“Be­dourie brought some ex­cit­ing new chal­lenges.

“Al­though we were on the edge of the Simpson Desert, it rained quite a lot and a few times we were iso­lated by road for up to three months at a time.”

Dur­ing th­ese times pa­tients were air­lifted or taken by boat into the clinic.

“It amazed me how the SES could find their way among the end­less sand dunes as when sur­rounded by wa­ter they all looked the same.”

The RFDS vis­ited the clinic ev­ery two weeks and were a wel­come sight, along with Al­lied Health ev­ery three weeks and var­ied spe­cial­ist ev­ery three to six months.

“Our RFDS was based in Mt Isa and flew in for re­trievals as needed,” she said.

Part of her clinic duty was to man the QAS which in­cluded an old diesel Toy­ota which Lyn had to learn to ser­vice.

“I had the diesel freeze twice but luck­ily I didn’t have to change a tyre,” Mrs Heaton said.

“The win­ter days in the desert are lovely but the tem­per­a­ture drops down dur­ing the night.

“I also re­lieved at the Birdsville and McKin­lay clin­ics.

“It was ex­cit­ing re­liev­ing at Birdsville, es­pe­cially when its fa­mous races were on.

“The town went from 80 peo­ple to 8000, but we had to work 12-hour shifts over those four days.”

Mrs Heaton re­turned to Biggenden in time for the big move from the old hos­pi­tal to the new fa­cil­ity to be­come the com­mu­nity nurse.

“Eigh­teen months down the track I have made the de­ci­sion to re­tire, but Biggenden will re­main home,” she said.

“Leo and I will do some trip­ping about, catch­ing up fam­ily and with friends we have made in the dif­fer­ent towns we have worked and to visit his rel­a­tives in­Western Aus­tralia.”

PHOTO: ERICA MUR­REE

READY FOR RE­TIRE­MENT: Lyn Heaton is look­ing for­ward to catch­ing up with fam­ily af­ter she re­tires as com­mu­nity nurse.

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