Published Tuesday 28 Mar 2023

This Friday, we will celebrate Sigrid Puklowski’s exceptional service to CCHV over the past 35 years, including 21 years in ICU.

After 21 years working in Intensive Care Services, ICU Ward Administrator Sigrid Puklowski has made the difficult decision to “slow down” and retire from the role she has legend status at.

The eighty-year-old is a stalwart of Capital, Coast and Hutt Valley (CCHV), having worked across Wellington and Hutt Hospitals since the 1970s, which included roles in Hutt ED, Dental, as a Medical Typist, Relieving, and as a Personal Assistant.

A very emotional Sigrid shared her reasons why she is calling it a day and what she will miss the most.

“The reason I am retiring is I can’t do five days a week anymore. I had to tell myself that I needed to slow down because my limit would be two days a week and I can’t do two days in ICU. So that was what brought about my final decision on that.”

Despite making the decision to retire, Sigrid admits it hasn’t quite sunk in yet and is already feeling the difficult emotions of not wanting to leave everyone who she calls ‘her family’.

“I’m feeling very sad because everybody here at ICU are like my family. Everybody in this unit, from the doctors, to the nurses, to the cleaners, everyone, are all absolutely amazing. This is not just a job for me, it’s like walking home to your family every day. We are just one happy team, and I don’t think I would have stayed anywhere else that long.

“But you can’t go on forever,” Sigrid said with tears rolling down her face.

Sigrid has seen her fair share of sad and happy cases at her time at ICU, but is walking away with many great memories and highlights, which she said includes being a ‘problem-solver’ for the team.

“There’s a lot of things I will never forget from my time here. One of them is my love for investigating. If somebody says they can’t find a set of notes, I’ll find them! I’ve always been a person who likes getting the problems solved, so that was a part of my role that I loved.”

There is no doubt Sigrid will be sorely missed by her team at ICU with colleagues saying:

“She is well-loved and will be missed by all staff and has been, and will be, a part of us forever.”

“We will certainly miss her sense of humour as she can be quite funny. We will also have no one to keep us in order anymore. She definitely liked to keep us on our toes.”

“She’s an amazing person and is a legend in her own right.”

“We would like to thank Sigrid for her dedication to ICU over the years and wish Sigrid all the best. Sigrid will be missed by her ICU whānau.”  

Sigrid said she is contemplating what to do post-retirement, and that it will take a while for her to get used to not walking through ICU doors again.

“I’m waking up very strangely in the night wondering about what I’ll do next. It’s like, I come to work with all these wonderful people, and then suddenly having no one. But I know I’ll still have a great connection with everyone here. I am still feeling healthy so may look to find something for one or two days a week, but we’ll see.”

Sigrid finished off by having a few words for all people she worked with in her time at CCHV.

“I would like to say thank you to all the people I’ve worked with in the hospital who have made my life what it is today. It’s been a pleasure working with you all, and I will be on your doorstep occasionally.

“Also, to the hard-working Medical Records team, I appreciate the time and courtesy you have shown me, especially over the last few months with all the notes requests.”

We will celebrate Sigrid’s legendary service on her last day, which is this Friday, 31 March 2023. There will be a morning tea at 10.45am in the Wellington Regional Hospital (WRH) ICU Staff Room.

You can sign a farewell book in the ICU Admin office on Level 3, WRH.