No one has witnessed changes to hospital practices and techniques quite like Maria Olsen.
Maria, from Forster, called time on her incredible 60 year nursing career with a final shift at Manning Base Hospital on Sunday, November 22.
But first, hospital staff held a farewell morning tea at the hospital on Friday, November 20 to say goodbye and celebrate her six decades in the profession.
Here she was presented with a commemorative award to recognise her longevity and dedication to nursing, a bouquet of flowers and a gift basket by the hospital's acting nursing and midwifery director Paul Townsend.
"I feel very honoured to be able to stay in the profession as long as I have because of the ever evolving and changing workplace," Maria said.
Maria began her career in Victoria in November 1960. She took up a permanent position in 1988 at Manning Base Hospital and hasn't looked back.
"I've worked in medical (department) the whole time," Maria said.
Her career was filled with numerous highlights, but put on the spot to pinpoint them was a difficult task.
Maria said the development of plastic for tubing in medical instruments was a game changer.
"Everything now comes pre-packaged," Maria explained.
"In the old days, we had to sterilise everything and sharpen the needles to give injections and wash out glass syringes.
"It's so much easier now."
Patient care methods have also changed.
"We don't seem to have the same time to devote to patient care but the knowledge of infections and diseases is so much better," Maria said.
"As far as medical nursing is concerned, it's made a big difference."
Maria started to cut back hours at the hospital when she turned 68.
"I made a list for myself years ago and documented each year when I cut back from full time," Maria said.
She will now spend her days in retirement gardening, making clothes for her grandchildren, reading books and relaxing.
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