Wayne Southern, farewelled in style from Wauchope District Memorial Hospital.

Wauchope acknowledges a distinguished career in nursing

Jul 04, 2024

Wayne Southern, a stalwart in the field of nursing and healthcare management, has retired as the Director of Nursing and Executive Officer at Wauchope District Memorial Hospital (WDMH).

His remarkable journey in the medical field spans over three decades and several continents, reflecting a career marked by dedication, leadership, and service.

Wayne’s nursing career began in 1991 when he entered the Queen Elizabeth Military School of Nursing in Woolwich, England. Shortly after, he was deployed to Kuwait as a Medical Technician, gaining invaluable experience on the front lines of healthcare. Upon his return, Wayne completed his qualifications and commenced work as a junior nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital.

His expertise and commitment soon led him to a 13-month deployment with the RAF Hospital, touring Akrotiri in Greece and Cyprus. Wayne’s career took a significant turn when he transitioned into Information Technology at the Royal Hospital Haslar, a Naval Hospital, where he managed clinical information systems. During this time, he also supported IT operations during conflicts in various countries, demonstrating his adaptability and technical prowess.

Wayne’s managerial acumen became evident as he progressed to managing the Recovery Room at the Royal Hospital Haslar. His role with the Close 16 Support Squadron saw him undertake multiple deployments to establish field hospitals, aeromedical evacuations, and logistical management in regions including Africa, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, and Ireland.

In 2003, Wayne moved to the warm shores of Australia, joining the Port Macquarie Base Hospital (PMBH) as the Nurse Unit Manager (NUM) of Day Surgery Unit (DSU) and Post Anaesthetic Recovery Unit (PARU). The following year, he began his tenure at WDMH as the NUM of Operating Theatres. Under his leadership, the number of surgical cases increased significantly from an average of 600 to 1600 per year, a testament to his efficiency and leadership.

Wayne’s career continued to ascend as he took on roles such as Aeromedical Chief Clinical Manager and Patient Transport District Nurse Manager. His extensive experience in aeromedical services greatly benefited the healthcare systems he was a part of.

He also held significant roles in aged care services, progressing to Health Manager 3 of Aged Services within the Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD).

His leadership was crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic when he served as the COVID Clinic Nurse Manager, setting up drive-through clinics and vaccination clinics. He also managed the establishment of a specialised health quarantine service – Special Health Accommodation (SHA) for the Hastings Macleay Network, coordinating services and personnel from numerous agencies to provide essential care and support to more than 500 people daily.

Wayne’s contributions extended to project management, where he successfully managed the helipad project at PMBH for six months. His diverse roles culminated in his current position as the Director of Nursing and Executive Officer at WDMH, where his impact has been profound.

“As Wayne steps into retirement, his legacy at Wauchope and beyond will be remembered with deep appreciation,” said work colleague and friend Nez Cook.

“His career has been a beacon of excellence in nursing, characterised by a relentless pursuit of improvement and unwavering dedication to patient care.

“Wayne’s journey is an inspiration to all in the healthcare profession, and his contributions will continue to resonate long after his departure,” Nez said.

Yesterday, staff at Wauchope District Memorial Hospital farewelled Wayne in style.

In bidding farewell to his team, Wayne paid tribute to their dedication, skill and compassion.

“Teamwork has been the cornerstone of our success,” he said at a morning tea in his honour.

“Together, we have faced numerous challenges, and together, we have overcome them.

“It is your ability to support one another, to lift each other up during the toughest times, that has made our team so strong.

“Your professionalism, combined with your genuine care for our patients, has created an environment where excellence is the norm.”

For more photos from Wayne’s farewell, please click on the image below and scroll.

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