After 42 years serving the Griffith community, oncology nurse Margaret Gandy has decided to call it a day.
More than four decades ago, Ms Gandy saw the birth of cancer treatment in Griffith.
She trained at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney before moving to the area in 1975.
After working in palliative care in both voluntary and paid positions, she began assisting with radiotherapy clinics.
When oncologists began to visit the area, Margaret began to question why there was no specialist in town.
“We used to do little chemo rounds, but not complex. I said to one of the oncologists, when will you start coming to Griffith?”
He said ‘when someone has the oncology certificate, I will come to Griffith,” she said.
“I went and did the oncology certificate. Hence, he came to Griffith.”
From there, the Griffith Hospital oncology department was born.
Wandering through the department these days, it’s not unusual to witness a little song and dance from nurses and patients alike.
“They hear all our singing and our dancing. They sing and dance too.”
Her fellow nurses, Margaret says, are some of the highlights of the job.
“Jenny and Heather have been amazing. We have a bit of a laugh,” she said.
“I’ll miss the job, but I’ll miss the people more.”
The patients that have had a huge impact on Margaret as well.
“It’s amazing. We get as excited to deliver good news as the patients. Just the other day we got news that a patient had been fully cleared ... We also get really upset when it’s not good news,” she said.
‘We try to make this place as homely as we can. People are happy to come, but they’re also happy to leave.”
Over the past forty years, Margaret has witnessed a rapid change in the way cancer is treated. These days, with the introduction of new treatments and drugs, outcomes can be drastically different.
“It’s changed immensely. We’re just on the boom of it changing even more with new drugs,” she said.
“Don’t just listen to what people say. They tend to give you the negatives. There are lots of great treatments on there and on the horizon.”
With over four decades of nursing under her belt, Margaret is looking forward to what the next chapter will bring.
“I’m looking forward to the next stage of my life.. I’m going to relax first, and then travel between Tathra and up the Sunshine Coast,” she said.
“I’m grateful that God took me in this direction. I hope that I’ve given a lot to people and I’m thankful for everything I’ve been given.”
The nurses are holding an afternoon tea 3pm on Friday September 28, inviting all present and past patients to come along and catch up.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.