two nurses using a mannequin to demonstrate how to measure a baby's head.

More than 100 years of service between them, Denise Smith and Pauline Davis at Kempsey District Hospital.

Pauline and Denise’s century of caring for others

Sep 07, 2023

Nurses Denise Smith and Pauline Davis have had very similar careers.

Both started their nursing journeys in Sydney hospitals.

Pauline began her training in the January of 1973 while Denise started the following year, in January 1974.

“We had three months on the ward and three months in education. Breaking it up like that I think it was good as it wasn’t so hectic. It was a great way to learn on the job and get to know the wards,” Pauline said.

“I remember we used to have our uniforms measured so they weren’t too short. They had to be above the knee,” Denise said.

“We couldn’t wear nail polish, makeup or jewellery. We had to wear caps and capes and everything had to be impeccably ironed.”

While nursing has it challenges, like any job, both agree that overall, it has been a very fulfilling career.

“I really enjoy helping people,” Denise said.

“Sometimes you’d feel like ‘I don’t know if I can do this’ but then it would also feel like a wonderful and varied job,” Pauline said.

Both women later relocated to the Mid North Coast with Denise moving to Port Macquarie and Pauline to Kempsey.

These days Denise is based at Port Macquarie Community Health working with AMIHS (Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Service) and is a Lactation Consultant at PMCHC and Kempsey Primary and Community Care Centre (PCCC) and Pauline is based at Kempsey PCCC.

An old black and white photo of a young nurse wearing her nurse uniform and cap.

Pauline Davis as a young nurse at the start of her 50-year career caring for others.

black and white photo of a young woman receiving her nurse graduation certificate

Denise Smith in 1974; now she is about to celebrate 50 years in the nursing profession.

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