Immunology Technical Assistant at NSW Health Pathology’s Newcastle laboratory, Louise Moonen, looks back on her career which began in nursing in the 1980s.
Louise began her training as an enrolled nurse in 1982 at St Joseph’s Home Sandgate on the western outskirts of Newcastle.
“This was a teaching hospital back in the day, taking in 25 or so applicants every year,” she said.
“Being trained by the nuns, who were very strict but compassionate, I believe made us better and more caring nurses.”
Louise then worked as an Occupational Therapy Technical Assistant from 1990 to 1996 and from there moved into pathology, working as a technical assistant from 1996 to 2023.
She admits her move into pathology was quite accidental.
“In 1995 St Joseph’s was to be taken over by the Federal Government and those who wanted to retain their benefits were to be re-employed in similar positions at the various public hospitals in the Hunter.
“Pathology was picked for me so off I went.
“It was very daunting at first as there was so much to learn and retain and I needed to train at three different hospitals – the John Hunter Hospital, the Mater and the Royal Newcastle Hospital where I was to be employed.
“The best times of my career were at ‘The Royal’ as I’m sure everyone who worked there in the 80s and 90s would agree.
“The lab was smaller, and we were a very close-knit group. Plus, we got to look out at those million-dollar ocean views!”
Since the birth of her son in 1999, Louise has been working in the laboratory two days a week, so she’s confident she’ll adjust to retired life.
“I’ll have another day to go to the gym or catch up with friends for coffee. Maybe I’ll take up golf and join my husband on the course. Travel to Canada and Croatia are on our wish list as well,” she says.
“It goes without saying I will miss my workmates and the banter and laughs often at my expense!! When you work with colleagues for a long time they become like family, and you share each other’s joys and sorrows. No one will call me ‘Lady Louise’ at home like they do in Immunology!”
You will be missed just as much by your colleagues, Louise – we wish you every happiness in retirement!