Nursing staff have, from the very beginning, played a vital role in the provision of cardiology services at Wellington Hospital.
Mentioned elsewhere is the provision of early recording of electrocardiograms by Sisters Muriel Tattersall, Joan Stevenson-Wright and Sheila Carmody. In the section on the Hypertension Clinic, I refer to the significant part played by Sister Doris Gayne.
It is in the wards that nurses have traditionally contributed most and it has been impossible for me to identify all nurses who looked after cardiology patients. Such patients were initially housed in general wards, and even after the move to the Seddon Wing, ward 22 housed both cardiology and renal patients who were cared for by the same nursing team. The CCU had its own nursing staff, although in the early years, the nurse in charge was the Ward Sister, ward 22. In the Seddon Block (ward 22) era, successive ward sisters were:
Wendy Evans (nee Couchman)
Stephanie Sullivan (nee Nurse)
Staff Nurses and Charge Nurses in the CCU had frequently completed the PG course in Intensive Care (ICU, CCU, NNU and Cardiothoracic).
Wendy Evans nee Couchman
1967 - 1970
1970 - 1971
1971 - 1973
1973 - 1974
1977 - 1980
Margaret Couper nee Smaill
1980 - 1988
1988 - 1990
1990 - 1995
1995 - 1999
1999 - 2002
2002 - 2004
2004 - 2008
2008 - 2016
2016 - 2022
In the cardiology out-patient clinic nurses played a part in earlier years although I have been unable to identify all. In the 1960s, S/N Mary McCarthy was there as was Sister Adrienne Bull. However, from the late 1960s, no nursing staff were employed in the Cardiology OP Clinic.
There have however, been other specific roles for nurses.
CARDIAC REHAB NURSES:
Kate O'Reilly 1992 -
Paul Peacock 2006 - 2012
Siobhan Seeney 2013 - 2014
Chris Murphy (Kenepuru Hospital) 2006 - 2013
Gitta Majumder (Kenepuru Hospital) 2013 -
Trish Heuser (LIPID study) 1990 - 2000
Diane Middleditch 1995 -
Bev Scott 1994 - 1995; 1999 -
CLINICAL NURSE SPECIALIST : HEART FAILURE
Janet Dunbar 2003 -
Chris Murphy 2013 -
CLINICAL CARDIAC NURSE: WHANAU CARE SERVICES
Trish Heuser 2006 - 2008; 2011 - 2017
CARDIAC RHYTHM MANAGEMENT NURSE:
Rachel Machin 2011 - 2012
Lin Coleman 2012 -
Tony Hogan 2017 -
CARDIAC INHERITED DISEASES NURSE SPECIALIST:
Tom Donoghue 2014 -
THE ANTICOAGULANT CLINIC
Mention should be made of the ANTICOAGULANT CLINIC.
Although anticoagulant clinic services were always provided by the Pathology Department, Cardiology more than any other service was the largest user, and in fact the clinic was based within the Cardiac Care Unit when that was located in the WSB.
Until the mid 1960s, many patients suffering a myocardial infarction were placed on oral anticoagulants for months and sometimes years afterwards.
In the 1960s, Sister Algar ran the clinic. From 1970 - 1991 Sister Betty Meyers was in charge and provided a remarkably efficient service. Although her official designation was "Lab Assistant", Betty was a registered nurse and for a short time before her marriage, was a sister in the orthopaedic theatre.
Betty in her orthopaedic heyday.
Betty was extremely conscientious, and nearly always worked late. This was to ensure that all patients' INR results were placed before the relevant cardiologist, and the next schedule of warfarin dosing communicated back to the patient on the day of the blood test.
In retirement, Betty found another activity on which to focus her energies, completing an impressive number of marathons and half-marathons.