FOND FAREWELL: Dementia nurse practitioner Anne Moehead will hang up her badge for the last time, ending a 45-year career in health.
FOND FAREWELL: Dementia nurse practitioner Anne Moehead will hang up her badge for the last time, ending a 45-year career in health. Contributed

Lismore nurse calls it a day after 45 years

AFTER a 45-year career in health, on Thursday dementia nurse Anne Moehead will hang up her badge for the final time.

"I will miss my many friends and colleagues that I have made over the many years of nursing," Ms Moehead said.

"I will miss my patients and their families and the ability to make a difference in a small way to the person's life and to travel the dementia journey with them."

Starting her career as a student psychiatric nurse in 1973 in Sydney, Ms Moehead came to Lismore to undertake general nurse training at Lismore Base Hospital in 1977.

Following conclusion of training, Ms Moehead has worked in many roles across the Northern NSW region, including stints as nurse unit manager at Lismore Base Hospital, community nurse in Ballina, and an aged care assessment team member.

In 2004 she returned to Lismore Base Hospital as a nurse practitioner in psychogeriatrics, or dementia, before receiving the Order of Australia Medal for services to the dementia community in 2005.

"Initially the NSW Nurses Registration board did not recognise the speciality of psychogeriatrics, or older persons mental health, I had to put forward a case for change for this," Ms Moehead said.

She was instrumental in establishing the first dementia-specific day care services outside Sydney, identifying delirium as an issue across NSW Health through her work with the Clinical Excellence Commission clinical council.

During her career Ms Moehead also advocated for dementia outreach community services and a psychogeriatrician medical specialist outreach service.

Most recently, Ms Moehead developed the dementia care competency and training network online program and the Northern NSW Local Health District Psychogeriatric Reference group.

"Of course, none of this could be achieved without my colleagues, mentors and friends," Ms Moehead said.

"Being able to influence and contribute to policy at the state and national level on Clinical Care Standards and dementia / delirium models of care was a great privilege."

Although she is retiring from clinical work, Ms Moehead said she will continue contributing to the commissioning of the National Dementia Care Specialist Units across Australia, and is involved locally with the Ballina Dementia Alliance committee.

"I will have time to travel and see my daughter, who works in Qatar, and have time to enjoy my garden, and who knows what other opportunities may present," she said.



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