Mother nurse Gladys farewells hospital family

Gladys Akhurst (photo courtesy of the Courier Mail)

Gladys Akhurst (photo courtesy of the Courier Mail)

Gladys Akhurst is a nurse who will be remembered by many.

The longstanding theatre nurse at The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH) is hanging up her scrubs in exchange for some well-deserved rest and relaxation after 55 years of service to the community.

As Queensland’s longest serving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander registered nurse, Gladys, age 73, first commenced her nursing training in 1968 at the age of 17 at Mt Isa Base Hospital,

Her nursing career has spanned many locations including Mt Isa, Brisbane, Darwin, Alice Springs, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, London and Singapore. Her longest employment at any one institution is at TPCH where she has dedicated 30 years of service.

Throughout her career, Gladys has trained many incoming graduate nurses instilling her skill, knowledge and passion for the nursing profession into several generations of Queensland nurses.

“For me it has been about supporting the new ones coming through and helping them learn to become better scrub nurses, and I think I’ve done that,” Gladys said.

Fondly known as the matriarch of the operating theatres, Gladys, a mum of two herself, is considered a mother figure by many staff who have benefitted from her kind, nurturing nature.

Over the years, Gladys has become famous for keeping the food cupboard in the theatre tearoom stocked, so her colleagues are well nourished during their busy shifts.

“My mother was a caring soul, I think I got it from her. I love to take care of people, it’s part of who I am,” she said.

The veteran nurse admits that while she will miss the hospital, she is ready for retirement.

“The Prince Charles Hospital has been my home for a long time. I’ve enjoyed every minute working here, the staff are like my family, they’ve helped me through all the good and bad times,” she said.

“I’m lucky to have had such a wonderful career, but now I’m ready to start the next part of my life – it’s time.”

2024-05-13T10:26:39+10:0013 May 2024|
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