Celebrating Kerrie’s 60 years of nursing
St George Hospital has said a fond farewell to beloved nurse Kerrie Osterberg, who recently retired after a 60-year career.
For the past 40 years, Mrs Osterberg worked at St George Hospital’s Emergency Department, with an unwavering dedication for caring for others.
On her final shift, staff surprised Mrs Osterberg with a guard of honour, throwing confetti and applauding her as she left the building, with ambulances outside joining the celebrations by flashing their lights.
“I couldn’t get over it, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many people who came from far and wide, it was incredibly special,” Mrs Osterberg said.
The Night Nurse Unit Manager began her career in 1962 at the Mater Hospital in North Sydney. There she did midwifery, and then moved to Sutherland Hospital where she worked in intensive care. After spending some time living in London, she returned to SESLHD to work while raising her four children.
"There are so many moments where I feel I made a difference," she said. "Often patients come in extremely ill, then you see them stabilise and on the road to recovery."
She says a simple conversation with a patient makes "a world of difference".
"Having a chat with them and giving them a warm blanket if they are cold at night makes them feel like they aren't in a strange place," she said. "Many are frightened and vulnerable when they come in. You have to be prepared to listen because lots of people have a lot of other problems. That's when they know you care."
She credits her longevity to solid working relationships.
“I just love the hospital and love everyone I worked with in the ED and all of the paramedics. It’s a very close-knit community, like a family,” she said.
“The key to a successful and long career as a nurse is to have compassion, empathy and respect for other people – the patients and also the people you work with. You have to respect each other’s ideas.”
"I will miss the wonderful staff. I will miss the laughter. I will miss being more like a mother to them, and more like a grandmother to the young graduates. I will miss the patients."
Mrs Osterberg is excited to travel to the US to see three of her children and five grandchildren.
Photo: Kerrie Osterberg outside the Emergency Department at St George Hospital. Photo courtesy of Chris Lane/The St George & Sutherland Shire Leader.