Nurses are a tough breed.
(min cost $8)
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They face all sorts of ordeals that for the rest of us would have us recoiling in horror or at least questioning our career choices.
For 83-year-old Ruth Sandry though being a nurse was never in doubt and on Boxing Day she will be saying goodbye to 55 years of service.
"When I began in 1954 as a 17-year-old I was going to be the next Florence Nightingale," she said.
"Turns out it didn't quite work out like that. I had had this idyllic vision of life as a nurse that was all hand-holding and niceties, but it was hard going back in the day.
"Now they have all this equipment and technology that makes it a lot easier on your body."
From mechanical lifters for the body and debriefing sessions for the mind, the details of working life as a nurse have changed, but the emotional impact of being a nurse in a hospital in a small town means that there are very few families that Ruth hasn't met, in good times and bad.
"I have seen a lot of good times and a lot of bad times, a lot of sadness," she said.
Ruth's disposition though is overwhelmingly positive, her good-nature and forthright attitude is one that has kept her working, although the physicality of nursing, and the loss of her husband meant that this isn't the first time she has resigned.
"I was in a pretty ordinary place after I hurt my back and my husband died and I had a few years off then, but when they asked me to come back 14 years ago for a couple of days a week, that was a good thing."
As nursing has changed over the years Ruth has some sage advice for those that are commencing in nursing, particularly the young women.
"The world is your oyster for you young girls, it wasn't when I was young," she said.
"You can go on to do better things now, there are so many opportunities open for all of you."
There's one aspect of nursing though that Ruth has never accepted.
"Computers," she laughed, "I just hate computers."
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