Beverley Sparkes started her nursing career at Bourke in 1966 and ended it at 3.30pm on Friday when she finished her shift at Dubbo Hospital.
The 52-year achievement included more than 30 years at the city’s public hospital.
But it’s not how long she worked, rather what she did that saw fellow registered nurses turn out in force to farewell their friend and mentor.
Nurses’ voices trembled and tears were shed as they thanked Mrs Sparkes for her leadership, compassion and willingness to pass on her expertise.
“It’s a shame for our young nurses for you to be going,” one of six speakers said.
“I am what I am today because of you,” another nurse told Mrs Sparkes.
Acting director of nursing Tracy Wittich called the retiring nurse an “inspiration” and revealed that her motto was “ the patient comes first”.
Mrs Sparkes fell into nursing but “pretty much liked it straightaway” because she could help people.
She said nurturing and supporting young nurses had been “a pleasure”.
“I guess it’s been a lot of hard work but I have enjoyed it,” the now retiree said.
Mrs Sparkes has held numerous leadership positions in her long career, including nurse unit manager of Dubbo Hospital’s Emergency Department.
On Friday she was presented with flowers and a Western NSW Local Health District badge for 30 years of service to Dubbo Hospital.
Mrs Sparkes and her husband are getting ready to travel around Australia.