SEEING the babies she cares for grow into happy children has always been reward enough for Colleen Drum.
But when those children she first met as Albury Community Health’s child and family nurse started coming in with children of their own, Ms Drum thought the time may well have come for her to call it a day.
“The time goes quickly,” she said.
“It makes you think it’s a good time to work a lot less and perhaps do some other things.
“It’s a good time to pursue other interests and spend time travelling and with my family.”
Ms Drum, 61, will finish work at the clinic tomorrow after almost 30 years of service.
She started her nursing career in 1975 at the Mercy Hospital before joining the community centre in 1985.
She was eager to work with children and families but never thought she would become one of the centre’s longest-serving staff members.
“I thought it would just be for a few years but I became more interested and enjoyed it so much, I didn’t want to do anything else,” she said.
For her, nothing beats the smiles on the faces of parents when things turn around for their premature or sick babies.
“Seeing babies develop into happy, healthy children — that’s the highlight,” she said.
“To have them talking and playing and seeing their joy and delight and then watching their parents watch their children, and seeing the look of love on their faces.”
Ms Drum said the introduction of home visits for newborns and the centre’s parent groups were positives for the industry.
“I often meet parents in the street who say they’re still meeting parents they met at our groups, where the kids and the couples are friends,” she said.
Ms Drum does not have children but has extended family all over Australia, so several visits are already booked.
“We’ve got wonderful nurses here to fill my role,” she said.