A retirement party courtesy of family and friends was held on Saturday honouring the retirement of long-serving nurse Katherine Quirk.
Mrs Quirk has spent her entire professional career working as a nurse at the Herberton Hospital, with her 50-year career being the longest of any nurse currently working in Queensland.
In addition, Mrs Quirk is the longest-serving Indigenous nurse still working in Australia.
Mrs Quirk said it is an honour to be recognised for her role in the community.
“I wasn’t expecting any of this, so for my family and friends to organise a party in recognition of my work really means a lot,” she said.
“The Herberton Hospital has been a great place to work and nursing has been an extremely rewarding career.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to work alongside and meet so many great people and I’ve learnt so much over the years working as a nurse.
“I would recommend it as a career path for those who might be thinking about it – we always need nurses and it’s a great chance to help people within your community.”
That sense of community is something Mrs Quirk cherishes about Herberton and why she said it will always be home.
“It’s a very tight-knit community, everyone knows each other and looks after each other no matter their background,” she said.
“And that’s why I would like to take this opportunity to thank the community and my colleagues for the wonderful support and care they’ve provided me over the years.”
Mrs Quirk said she will be using her retirement to relax and look after her own health, play with her grandkids and enjoy plenty of camping and fishing trips.
Mrs Quirk has been integral to the fabric of the Herberton Hospital for more than five decades, and that’s evidenced by the glowing fashion in which her colleague Justin Collins-Rankin speaks about her.
“She’s been such an inspiration,” he said.
“She has the best attitude towards patient care and no matter what was thrown her way she took it in her stride.
“She always treated people with respect and displayed professionalism and dedication at all times.
“If you were a nurse just starting your career, Kathy is the person you would want to learn from – so she is someone who will be sorely missed at the Herberton Hospital.”