Melville: Maureen Burke celebrates a lifetime of helping others through nursing


Melville resident Maureen Burke celebrated 50 years as a registered nurse.
Melville resident Maureen Burke celebrated 50 years as a registered nurse.

MELVILLE nurse Maureen Burke likened her early years in the profession to an episode of Call the Midwife, literally riding the streets on a bicycle to deliver babies.

She was among 15 nurses recognised recently by the Department of Health for 50 years of nursing/midwifery registration.

The registered nurses were presented with certificates at Fraser’s in Kings Park.

Ms Burke said her desire to care for others and her experience with polio motivated her pursue a career in nursing.

“I think it is very rewarding,” she said.

Ms Burke trained at Fremantle Hospital, starting out as a nursing assistant at age 16 before registering in 1966.

She was a staff nurse at Collie Hospital before travelling overseas for a one-year midwifery course in Ireland.

“You did everything over there; I was riding my bike to patients and now I really relate to Call the Midwife,” Ms Burke said.

Ms Burke worked on a medical surgical ward in Liverpool for six months, learnt Italian in Italy as a nanny, and then returned home. She spent time in Broome in the ’60s, taking children in four-wheel-drives out to Cable Beach.

Ms Burke said nursing had definitely changed in half a century and some of those changes made her sad. She said people with as little as three months training were working in aged care and the holistic approach to health was being lost.

“The whole person is important,” she said.