Thursday, October 26, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
For close to 50 years, Claire Mitchell-Must has dedicated her life to saving the lives of others, and she has recently hung up her nursing uniform and welcomed retirement.
“It’s amazing too, because my mum was a nurse, for 50 years, and so are my two sisters, so between all of us, we have over 120 years of nursing,” Claire explained.
Throughout childhood, Claire wanted to be a ballerina, however she happened into the role as an assistant nurse when she was 17 years old.
During that time, Claire has witnessed massive changes in the industry, including the introduction of gloves for preventative measures, rather than just when in theatre, or even when Claire used to work alongside ambulances.
“There was a time when the ambulance driver was just the driver, so I had a bag packed and would jump into the ambo and head out to regions, on farms and on beaches, to help in all sorts of emergencies,” Claire said.
“You would get the call out, grab your bag, and off you went.”
Having been extensively theatre and emergency department trained, Claire was witness to just about any and every sort of accident and emergency.
“My passion was in theatre and ED; they were just areas I really loved. When the theatre closed in Bowen, I moved into ED more consistently.”
Looking back over the time, “It has been wonderful, I have not regretted a minute, and if I could go back to do it again, I would not change a thing.”
Skipping a generation, Claire’s grandson, who is currently completing his senior exams, is looking to study Medicine at university.
“What made the job was when patients would turn to you and say ‘thank you for being there’, even when you feel you didn’t do a thing, that’s what made you feel good.”
Claire Mitchell-Must at her Retirement Party.
Claire on the job
Taking on COVID
Claire when she was a young nurse
Claire’s mum, Eileen Knight. Photos supplied