Nursing broken hearts over loss

CARING: Enid Scott at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital in 2008. ENID was born one very hot New Year’s Day in the back bedroom of her parent’s cottage at East Maitland and died on March 12, 2017, at home. We can’t tell you the exact date of her birth because this was Enid’s closely guarded secret and we aren’t about to share it.

Enid was our employer, our colleague, our mentor and our friend. Collectively we have known her for 80 years.

Enid trained as a registered nurse at the Maitland Hospital and completed her midwifery certificate at Crown Street Women’s Hospital. Enid’s long association with Lake Macquarie Private Hospital (LMPH) began in 1969 when she and her then husband John Scott, now deceased, were involved in the construction of the hospital. When the doors opened in 1973 Enid was the matron, complete with white uniform and starched white veil. This was a position she held for the next 32 years. For the first 15 years she worked the dual role of ward sister and matron and because she and the family lived onsite she was on 24-hour call. Stories abound of her being called in the early hours of the morning and her arriving on the ward resplendent in uniform, veil and lipstick – standards had to be maintained.

When you applied for a position at LMPH Enid would interview you. It didn’t matter what the position was, she wanted to know that you reflected her values and that you would fit into her culture of optimal patient care. She had developed a culture that was inclusive, respectful, caring, professional and friendly. Also you had to be able to walk fast as every interview was followed by a quick tour of the hospital. Unbeknownst to the applicant one of the criteria for any position was to “keep up” with Enid.

She instilled in all of us a great sense of pride in our duties and the hospital. We all felt valued and an integral part of the team, regardless of our role.

During Enid’s time at LMPH there were significant changes. The hospital grew from being a 36-bed general surgical hospital, employing 24 staff members in 1973, to a 118-bed advanced surgical hospital with over 400 staff in 2004 when Enid stepped aside from the role of Director of Nursing.

Regardless of how “high tech” the hospital became one thing remained the same – the hospital was there for the patient, the patient was not there for the hospital. Patient safety was hugely important to Enid and if a staff member identified an area where we could improve she was totally supportive of that improvement. She was also an advocate of staff development and encouraged all staff to further their careers and be the best they could be.

One of the ways that Enid kept abreast of all things at LMPH was to do a daily round. This was usually done first thing in the morning and could take up to two hours. Not only would she visit all the patients to check their progress and spend time with those who did not have regular visitors, she would also talk to all the staff. She knew everyone’s name and a little of their personal lives. It was an opportunity for her to ensure that the hospital was being presented as she wanted it to be.

When Enid stepped down as Director of Nursing, she took on the role of marketing/community relations manager. This role allowed her to elevate one of her passions – good customer service. It also enabled her to continue to contribute in her own unique way to the culture of LMPH.

Enid resigned in May 2013 – she had worked at LMPH for 40 years. Following her retirement, Enid continued her work as the chair of the Hunter Breast Cancer Education and Support Network, organising forums for those with a breast cancer diagnosis. What an achievement.

On Australia Day, 2005, Enid was recognised for her contribution to private healthcare in the Hunter, receiving the Medal of the Order of Australia. We were so excited for her and it was justly deserved.

We have been extremely fortunate to have had Enid in our lives. She interviewed and employed each of us and we learnt valuable professional and life skills from her that we will carry with us forever.

Enid is survived by her partner John, daughter Sandra, son Martin, granddaughters Isobel and Ruby, son in law Garey, sister Fay, brother Lloyd, their families, her colleagues, her many friends and us.

We miss her and will never forget such a special person.

Vale Enid.

Amanda, Brett and Therese

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