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Judy Cardillo recognised for 35 years of nursing

23 November

In 1970, Ingham Health Service clinical nurse Judy Cardillo stopped in small-town Ingham ahead of an overseas trip, but fate had other plans, when Judy met her husband of now 46 years and began a three decade-long career at the Ingham Health Service.

This week, Judy was one of twenty-one staff celebrated for a collective 325 years providing quality health care and support to the Ingham community at the hospital’s annual length-of-service ceremony.

“Nursing at the Ingham Hospital was very different back then; it was a wooden structure with open verandas, fans and mosquito nets,” Judy said.

“The rain came in when it was windy and it was very hot which was really weird for a nurse from New Zealand.

“Eighteen months later I married my husband and we had our children who I was privileged to stay home and look after while they were young.”

When Judy returned to work in the 80s she worked as a registered nurse and managed the dispensary temporarily.

“In 1982 I was offered the position of clinical nurse in the outpatients and emergency department,” she said.

“Back then these departments were run like a private practice with clinics and appointment times.

“Patients could still come in without appointments and all patients would have their investigations done, their medications dispensed, dressings attended all in one location.

“We managed the visiting specialists’ clinics as well and only stopped the clinics temporarily to look after emergencies when they were rushed in.

“It was very busy and the days passed quickly. We seldom stopped for lunch.”

Judy said she looked fondly on her career at the Ingham Health Service.

“When I think back to the time I have spent at the Ingham Hospital my memories are mostly of those days in the ED and outpatients,” she said.

“Our daughters were at school and involved in sports and other activities. My husband Nino had the farm to look after, but together, with a lot of organising, we managed.”

Judy said caring for patients was her utmost passion and still is to this day.

“The patients and the running of the department was the most important thing,” she said.

“I remember how important I thought it was to be clinically skilled and ultra-efficient.

“I prided myself on my ability to spot a patient who needed attention straight away, my knowledge of the equipment we used and the best practice care we gave.”

Judy said she built positive working relationships at the Ingham Health Service.

“I worked with some wonderful nurses, some of whom still work today and many who are still my dear friends,” she said.

“I’ve grown these relationships across many roles including nurse educator, nurse unit manager, acting director of nursing and nurse practice coordinator in community.”

Judy said she her experience in a small rural hospital had shaped her as a nurse.

“Clinical skill and current knowledge are still very important in rural hospitals but so are compassion, sympathy, and empathy,” she said.

“In a small rural hospital, the patient is often part of an extended group, all of whom look to us for reassurance and a real sense that we care.”

Judy said if she had her time again she’d have stopped and cherished each moment.

“I would have allowed myself to feel more kinship with the people I looked after,” she said.

“I wish that I had cried when they cried and prayed when they prayed.”

Townsville Hospital and Health Service Board Chair Tony Mooney thanked Judy for her service.

“Longevity with any organisation, especially one as large, challenging and important to the community as ours, sends a strong message about our dedication to the health and wellbeing of the people of the region,” he said.

“I congratulate all of the length-of-service recipients for the difference they have made to their community with their passion and dedication to their chosen pursuits.”

Last updated: 20 December 2018