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2020 International Year of the Nurse & Midwife - January

We begin celebrating 'The Year of the Nurse & Midwife' by showcasing Bronwyn Pereira, who has shared her story of how she began her nursing career and details her achievements along the way.


What year did you commence your nursing career?

I commenced my nursing training at St George Public Hospital in January 1971

What hospitals have you worked at?

I have worked in many hospitals over the years, mainly doing agency work to see how things are done differently.

What are some of the Positions you have held throughout your career?

  • NUM of Haematology/Oncology ward
  • Head Nurse running Day Oncololgy Unit
  • After Hours Manager
  • Night Nurse on a cruise ship sailing all around the Pacific
  • Office Manager / Computer programmer for a private pathology practice.

I was involved in the introduction of computers in a practice and was fascinated that we had to have a room just for the computer and its discs. It extremely revolutionised the way we handled paperwork. I went to TAFE at night and studied computer programming. It used to take all night to back up the system and it was put on tapes which we had to keep for at least 3 months.

I was involved in setting up Medicare item numbers for a pathology company which are still used today. This involved weekly Friday flights to Canberra.

St George Public was where my love of Oncology came from and I completed my Chemotherapy Administration Certificate and IV cannulation courses which I still use today.

When I had my children I spent many years working night shifts at St George Public, St George Private Hospital and Hurstville Private Hospital.

I was also stationed in Cowra for 2 months, running their Day Oncology Unit. This was very interesting, specifically learning about tele-medicine. I was also dismayed with how country people do not have the access to treatment that we take for granted living in a big city, and I witnessed first hand how lack of services affected the outcomes for patients.

Why did you choose to become a nurse?


I apparently decided to become a nurse because I wanted to save the world according to my mother, it certainly was not for the money as my first pay was $24.95 of which we had to pay $9.85 for board in the nurses home.

I remember lining up at the pay office window on pay day to collect the yellow envelope with our pay which was always cash and we thought we were rich.

My parents made me do a full time secretarial course because they didn’t think I would make it as a nurse as I fainted when my eldest sister split her head open when I was about 5. I became very proficient in typing and shorthand.

The standout for me, is the life-long friendships made along the way . . . . .

What year did you commence employment at Hurstville Private Hospital?

I started at Hurstville Private in 2008, where I was employed to cover the night shift. I was then approached to work in Preadmissions, then the Day Oncology Unit and then back to Preadmissions where I am still today.


Provide us a highlight in your career that you would like to share

I have had an extremely satisfying career in nursing and I don’t think I could highlight any one special moment as there have been so many. (I learnt how to climb drainpipes when living in the nurses home as unless we had a late pass we were meant to be home by 10 pm). We got 1 late pass/month.

Probably the standout is the life-long friendships made along the whole journey of nursing.

I have always loved my profession and always strive to improve my knowledge and outcomes for my patients. I always try to imagine walking the walk of the patients, to show me how I would like to be treated if I was in their situation. This is how I treat all my patients and their families, no matter what the circumstances.

Celebrating 2020: International Year of the Nurse & Midwife:

January 2020 - Brownyn Pereira Hurstville Private Hospital