Fiona Edmonds from the Maitland Hospital Branch shares her tribute to friend and colleague Marianna Wowk, who will be retiring after 58 years of nursing.
After an impeccable and outstanding 58 years of nursing service, Sister Marianna Wowk has retired from nursing, having worked her last shift on the 22nd August 2021 at Maitland Hospital.
Marianna and her family emigrated from the Ukraine via Germany when she was a toddler, coming to the Greta Migrant Camp and then, the family settling in Greta.
Marianna had dreamed of becoming a nurse from a young age, walking past Maitland Hospital, as she attended the nearby school at Monte Pio. Mary has described her career as “all she wanted to do when she left school”.
Marianna’s career began at Maitland Hospital as a Ward Cadet, and she finished her nursing training in 1968. Marianna moved to Melbourne shortly thereafter where she studied midwifery, and worked for 2 years at Queen Victoria Hospital in Lonsdale Street.
Marianna returned to Maitland Hospital where she worked as an in-charge nurse before commencing in the operating theatres, where she has remained for the past 36 years.
During the past 36 years, Marianna has seen a lot of change in nursing and surgical advancements, along with surgical techniques. She credits laparoscopic and endoscopic procedures along with advancements in orthopaedic surgery as progress during her career.
Marianna has regularly worked as an in-charge of the operating theatres during all this time. There have been many on-call shifts during her working life, which involved travelling 30 km to Maitland in the middle of the night for emergency surgeries – sometimes accompanied by her husband in the car for the drive in.
As a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Marianna has provided great support, extensive knowledge and advocacy for other perioperative nurses and medical staff. Mary’s integrity, wisdom, knowledge, commitment and dedication to her profession, to our workplace and perioperative nursing has been inspirational to many nursing colleagues and staff over many years. She has been a highly respected and highly valued member of staff from both the nursing and medical fraternities.
Marianna credits her husband Chris and his support over the past 50 years, in reaching all of her achievements which included winning a state Nursing quest.
In retirement, Marianna looks forward to spending time on the family property at Vacy, community activities, with plans of travelling in Australia and enjoying time with her family when COVID restrictions ease.
We, the perioperative staff at Maitland Hospital, sincerely wish her well in her retirement and thank her for her dedication and inspiration to our profession and our workplace.