Nurse closes curtain on 45-year career

So much has changed since Judy Litfin started work as a nurse at Ipswich Hospital 45 years ago.  

But one of the best changes was getting rid of the stiff hats that looked similar to square boxes and were held in place with bobby pins. 

“They didn’t enhance the job at all. They sometimes got caught in the curtains.” 

Ms Litfin may have closed the curtain on her 45-year nursing career, but the former Advanced Practitioner Enrolled Nurse will miss the rush of working in the Emergency Department (ED). 

“I will really miss the camaraderie as the ED team is great to work with,” said Ms Litfin, who began her nursing career in 1976. 

“When I started my nursing training at Ipswich Hospital at the age of 21, I knew this is where I was meant to be,” Ms Litfin said. 

“Nursing was very labour-intensive with plenty of heavy lifting back then. Thankfully today, with the help of modern equipment and electronically operated beds, caring for patients is less back-breaking for nurses and more comfortable for patients.” 

Technology has not brought the only changes to her profession. Ms Litfin the job used to come with strict uniform and fraternisation rules. 

“Nurses had to stand when a doctor entered the room and could never use first names while on duty,” Ms Litfin said. 

“We were never allowed to fraternise with the young doctors, even though our living quarters were beside each other. 

“We had segregated seating in the staff dining room, as students were not entitled to sit with registered nurses (RNs). An 11pm curfew was enforced, and the RN on night duty would check each room with a torch to ensure all nurses were in bed.” 

Nursing Director – Workforce Juliet Graham said patients were in safe hands with Ms Litfin.

“Every patient who came through the ED, from children to the elderly, would receive the utmost care. Judy was a great advocate for patients and took great care of our community.”

ED Nurse Unit Manager Kirsty Franklin said Ms Litfin would be missed. 

“Judy is a valued member of the Ipswich Emergency Team,” Ms Franklin said. “She radiates compassion for others and many nurses over the years have benefited from her training and support.” 

Ms Franklin said the team would also miss her “wellbeing” scones served with jam and cream. 

While her cooking will be missed, Ms Litfin plans to use her time away from the ED to paint, fish and travel.