Kim Gilmore has retired after three decades of caring in the community

Kim Gilmore has spent three decades as what was once called a district nurse'. Picture Les Smith
Kim Gilmore has spent three decades as what was once called a district nurse'. Picture Les Smith

They used to be known as district nurses; the staff who went out into the community and tended to patients in their own homes.

The name may have changed to community nurse, but Kim Gilmore knows the focus on patient caring remains the same.

Ms Gilmore has retired after working at Wagga Base Hospital for 36 years, 29 of them as a community nurse.

“I’ve seen lots of changes over the years. Most for the better, a few not so good,” she said.

“Medical stuff now is much more sophisticated, but the bottom line is still caring for the people you are seeing; and you’re seeing a lot of wonderful people.

“It’s been lots of fun over the years.”

Ms Gilmore recalls, with a laugh, the patient who waited patiently in the driveway of her Wagga home every day for the community nurses to arrive.

“Back in those days we all had different coloured uniforms. I’m an EN and we had a mauve-coloured pin stripe,” she said.

“This paricularly morning, I got out of the car and introduced myself and she looked me up and down and said ‘cut above the rest are you? Well you’re all decked out. The others only wear white’.

“It was – and still is very much-people focused.”

Having trained initially at Griffith, Ms Gilmore spent about 12 months there before moving to Henty for a three-year stint.

In 1982, she relocated to Wagga Base and there she has remained.

Seven years on the wards saw Ms Gilmore moved around, although she spent a lot of time in the surgical sections.

The move to the community health role was, Ms Gilmore said, for family reasons, but it was also into a job she loved.

“It’s been wonderful, really great. I’ve met some wonderful friends that I’ve worked with,” she said.

The job has had Ms Gilomore travelling all over the Wagga local government area to see patients.

Having worked at community health full-time for many years, Ms Gilmore reduced her workload to three days a week and also began spending one day a week in the office of Wagga ophthalmologist Paul Lattimer.

Retiring from the community health job gives Ms Gilmore more flexibility for working in Dr Lattimer’s practice, and continuing the interaction with patients she loves.