This year, we honoured some of our longest-serving colleagues and volunteers at the Length of Service Awards. Split over four nights, the virtual ceremonies honoured our dedicated employees and volunteers, who have been with Monash Health from 5 years through to 45 years. Each ceremony highlighted remarkable milestones, and recipients received their certificates of acknowledgement and Length of Service badges. During our last ceremony, we heard more about our 40 year and 45 year recipients, who have witnessed great change and enjoyed different environments throughout their careers. They also offered some advice and reflected on their time at Monash Health, which we shared during our ceremonies.
Read on to learn more about our amazing colleagues.
45 years of service
Cheryl Abbott – Enrolled Nurse, Night shift, Dandenong Hospital
Cheryl began her nursing career in late 1972 at the Royal Women’s Hospital, before moving to Dandenong Hospital in 1975. She worked on all the wards doing days, before beginning to work night shift, where she has remained ever since. She loves being a member of a team and ‘showing the ropes’ to nurse bank and new employees.
Known as a ‘doer’, Cheryl never stops for one moment, ensuring all the nursing and medical teams are up-to-date with their work. She brings a humour to the unit and, as a result, patients love to have a chat with her. Even after having the most chaotic night duties filled with everything from codes, to fires, to having her number plates stolen while at work, she never stops laughing!
Michael Daskalakis – Pathology Trials Manager, Monash Medical Centre
Michael Daskalakis started at Prince Henry’s Hospital, initially working in biochemistry from 1975. When Prince Henry’s and the Queen Victoria Hospital merged in 1987, Michael moved across to Monash Medical Centre, where he worked as a supervisor in the protein laboratory.
Michael’s current role is as Pathology Trials Manager, co-ordinating pathology trials and research activities. He told us he likes to ‘fly under the radar’ but no such luck Michael! 45 years of great service, loyalty and dedication, is something worthy of attention. Michael enjoys returning to Greece on holiday with his family and supports the Collingwood Football Club.
Domenica Davies – Senior Pharmacist and lead pharmacist, non-sterile specialised compounding, all Monash Health hospital sites
Domenica started as an intern in the Queen Victoria Hospital in the city, having vowed never to work there! Domenica works compounding special non-sterile pharmaceutical items that are not available commercially.
In her time at Monash she’s seen such enormous change and remembers the first day a computer was introduced to the pharmacy – it only took her a few minutes to be a convert, as the computer had produced (and saved) 13 medication labels in the time she could do one on the trusty old typewriter.
She is proud of the changes and improvements she’s seen over the decades, particularly the opportunity to be involved in a progressive approach to hospital pharmacy. Domenica was the first pharmacist invited to a grand round – the only woman in the room – and the first pharmacist to do paediatric ward rounds. She says she has still not lost her excitement for pharmacy, 45 years later.
It is a family affair for Domenica, whose husband Jeffrey has worked for 43 years at Monash Health and was one of her interns when he first started out. Daughter, Grace, is now a doctor at Monash Children’s Hospital. Her team wanted us to know that Dominica is so much more than a pharmacist and a leader – she’s a mentor, mother figure and lights up their days. What a legacy!
Kevin Ericksen – Director of Pathology Services, Monash Medical Centre
Kevin started his career at Dandenong Hospital in 1975 initially as a trainee Medical Scientist. He worked in many areas of the laboratory at Dandenong before moving to Monash Medical Centre as the Laboratory Manager. With the creation of Southern Health in 1996, Kevin was appointed initially as the Pathology Operations Manager, then Scientific Director and finally as the Director of Pathology.
Kevin was instrumental in the roll out the laboratory automation, with Monash Health being the first public pathology service in Australia to implement this technology. Kevin has been the Victorian State Representative on NPAAC & Medicare Pathology Services Advisory Board committees as well as a past President of the Australian Institute of Medical Scientists. Kevin was a worthy recipient of the AIMS George Swanson Christie Memorial Award which recognised an inspirational medical scientist who has shown ongoing excellence in the field.
Kevin has been a passionate, dedicated, respectful and professional worker, always working to better serve our patients and with a strong commitment to his people.
He is a keen golfer and enjoys nothing more than spending time with his family. He is already enjoying some long service leave on his way to retirement in December.
40 years of service
Anne Barrett – Enrolled Nurse, Ward 34, Monash Medical Centre
Recently retired, Anne Barrett practised on Ward 34 as an enrolled nurse for many years. She was presented with many challenges whilst working on the ward and managed to continually provide excellent care. She showed compassion and kindness to her patients, their families, and her team.
Anne was well known amongst her colleagues for her love of her fur babies – her cats! She would often have a picture on hand or a story to tell should someone ask. Although she may have retired, but Anne’s contributions to the ward will not be forgotten.
Jackeline Bothof – Clinical specialist nurse, Ward 34, Monash Medical Centre
Jackie has been nursing for 51 years, having trained at the Alfred before working in several city-based hospitals to gain broad experience. Jackie came to Moorabbin in 1980 to see about a job and came out with a uniform over her arm. She moved to Monash Medical Centre in 1994 and now works on 34 North at Clayton, looking after surgical patients.
She enjoys establishing a rapport with her patients. She feels privileged that she can care for people who are going through difficult times. She really enjoys contributing to the team and brings a lifetime of experience to share. The younger nurses enjoy working with her, and she is well-respected by her peers. The patients enjoy her care – possibly because she brings a bit of the ‘old school’ nursing like fluffing their pillows.
Sue Craigen – Clinical Nurse Specialist in ICU at Dandenong Hospital.
Sue started her time with Monash Health at Dandenong Hospital in 1980. She worked in several wards, but after settling in the ICU, never looked back! Sue is always respectful and diligent and has a calm, professional, patient-focused approach to her work. She fully embraces the diversity of presentations at Dandenong and laughs that “there’s never a dull moment” there.
Sue has always been willing to try new roles within the ICU. She fully embraced EMR, despite some initial fears, continues to preceptor new team members, and has worked tirelessly in ICU during COVID.
In a remarkable display of resilience, Sue raised a family as a working single mum, all while completing her Graduate Certificate in Critical Care. She is an avid gardener, with an enviable garden. As part of the ICU garden gnomes group, she mentors some of our younger and less “green-thumbed” nurses and doctors.
Rathi Kandapper – Registered Nurse, Pathology Collections, Dandenong Hospital
Rathi began her career at Monash Health at the then Dandenong District Hospital. She worked in various areas of the hospital, including the Lions ward (later South West 4) and in pathology collections, where she continues to work as a registered nurse to this day.
Rathi is described by her colleagues as supportive, caring, always smiling and a great friend, showing dedication and compassion to her co-workers and patients. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a mentor to both nursing and pathology students. The team says Rathi is someone you can rely on for support, professionally and personally. She goes above and beyond to help whenever it is required. She received the iCare award in 2014 for compassion after a parent sent a letter of thanks, commenting that Rathi had made her and her child feel safe while collecting a blood sample.
Jill Kennedy – Administrative Officer, Dandenong Emergency Department
Jill started with the Dandenong Emergency Department 40 years ago. ED is Jill’s passion. She brings a wealth of knowledge, which includes how the Emergency Department worked from a paper-based system right through to our current Electronic Medical Record system.
Jill’s compassion and the ability to anticipate the needs of others is outstanding. She is described as a professional who makes decisions in a timely manner and delivers on time, every time, with a smile! She has a genuine concern for her patients and is highly tolerant even under pressure, helping people feel comfortable, even in critical situations.
Yeng Hong (Jenny) Leong – Clinical Specialist, Monash Newborn, Monash Medical Centre
Yeng (Jenny) started her career at Queen Victoria Hospital 40 years ago and now works as a nurse within the Monash Newborn team at Monash Medical Centre. She brings an endless supply of knowledge and a brilliant work ethic to the team.
Jenny’s colleagues describe her as a tireless hard worker with a dry sense of humour. She is vibrant and sociable with an infectious laugh; an invaluable member of the team. Her manager says “You are always comforted knowing Jenny is on a shift with you.”
Phaik Sim (Pickles) Lim – Senior Physiotherapist, Dandenong Hospital
Phaik Sim Lim is a senior physiotherapist at Dandenong Hospital and has been with Monash Health for 40 years. Affectionately known as ‘Pickles’ by colleagues and patients, she brings an infectious smile to work with her every day. When describing her job, she says she keeps people moving so they can be discharged as soon as possible. This can be difficult on a surgical ward as patients are experiencing pain, but they definitely thank her when they’re ready to go home!
Over her years at Monash Health, Phaik Sim has embraced many changes and adapted to challenging circumstances enthusiastically. Most recently, Phaik Sim found herself being relocated to a new clinical setting due to COVID-19. Being in a new environment was challenging, but Phaik Sim stepped up to the task, learning new processes to deliver excellent care to her patients. Phaik Sim is a shining example of the dedication and excellence we strive for at Monash Health.
Karen McGill – enrolled nurse, Ward H, Casey Hospital
Karen is an endorsed enrolled nurse and has worked in sub-acute nursing at both Kingston Centre and Casey Hospital. In her early career at Kingston, Karen had a role in the initial falls program and was involved in a research program about dementia.
Now, Karen is a dedicated and valued part of the Ward H team at Casey. She is passionate about providing outstanding patient care and says her fondest moments are helping patients achieve their goals and ensuring their dignity is maintained.
Karen is loved by her patients especially for her sense of humour; she always has a joke and a laugh, to brighten the day. Karen is well known on the ward for her loud voice, which she says is a good thing because it helps those hard of hearing and also for her pink dyed hair.
She is heavily involved in infection prevention and educating employees to assist in maintaining hand hygiene compliance. Karen is the perennial organiser of the Melbourne Cup Sweep for the team and brings a bit of cheer and fun to the long-staying rehab patients.
Clark McIntosh – Senior Mechanical Tradesman, Engineering Department, Moorabbin Hospital
Clark has seen many changes over 40 years and his knowledge is invaluable. He solves many technical problems and keeps the building and machinery running. He works extremely well with the whole Engineering team and leads by example, assisting anyone when the opportunity arises. Clark has a good sense of humour, which helps everyone get through those longer days. He is well liked by both his colleagues and people throughout the organisation.
Although he is a quiet achiever, who prefers to stay out of the limelight, his years of hard work and dedication deserve recognition.
Adele Medel – Clinical Nurse Specialist, Operating Theatre at Dandenong Hospital.
Adele has been managing the Gynae and Obstetric portfolio at Dandenong Hospital for many years. Her kind, gentle approach to her work makes her a favourite with our Graduate Nurses. Her generous and giving nature has helped shape an open workplace culture.
The Department is grateful to have Adele who has an excellent knowledge base, is always willing to help, and who goes above and beyond for her patient and colleagues. Outside of work, Adele is an amazing cook and is a major contributor to the success of the notorious Dandenong Operating Theatre Christmas parties. She is never hesitant in helping support fundraising events.
Gerry Sadler – Senior Plumber, Engineering Services, Monash Medical Centre
Gerry started his journey with Monash Health at the Queen Victoria Hospital in the Engineering Department. In those days, engineering carried out new works maintenance and renovations. His work has always been exemplary. Gerry is our leading hand plumber and has been involved in all the major redevelopment projects at Monash Medical Centre as an advisor and team leader.
Gerry can be relied on to get things done, no matter what is asked of him and is the first to respond if needed. His team says he has a consistent willingness to help where he can. He brings vast technical knowledge of his trade gathered through years of experience and intimate knowledge of our facilities. Gerry is loyal, trustworthy, dependable, unflappable, and has a great sense of humour.
Michelle Sadler – ward clerk and former midwife, Women’s and Newborn outpatients service
Michelle started her 40 year journey with the health service at Prince Henry’s Hospital in 1980. She made the move over to Dandenong Hospital, as a midwife, in 1984. She now uses her extensive midwifery experience to provide support to the outpatients’ clinic of Monash Women’s and Newborn, as a ward clerk on casual bank, a role she has held since August 2015.
The team loves everything about Michelle – she is amazing, she is thoughtful, patient, kind and considerate. She always has time to answer their questions. Michelle is knowledgeable, unflappable, a consistently hard worker – the quintessential salt of the earth.
Geraldine Scanlon – Registered nurse on casual bank and special care nursery
Geraldine started working with some of our smallest and most vulnerable patients as a nurse in the special care nursery at Monash Medical Centre in 1980. She moved to the casual bank in April 2019 and continued to provide support in the special care nursery, where her colleagues say she brings enormous knowledge and skills gained over the length of her career.
Geraldine is known for always being willing to lend a hand where help is needed. She is a great communicator, adaptable, friendly and approachable. Recently, she has taken a recent leave of absence to concentrate on family.
Bernadette Smith – Ward Clerk, Aviary Ward, Monash Children’s Hospital
The friendly face you see when you arrive at the Aviary Ward at Monash Children’s Hospital is Bernie Smith. Bernie started at the Queen Victoria Hospital 40 years ago. She recognises that ward clerks play a crucial role in helping patients, parents, and clinical staff feel safe, calm, know what to do, and where to go – it’s all about making everyone feel more comfortable.
Bernie has been at Monash Children’s for two years and describes the team as a wonderful bunch. She’s proud to see the development of her colleagues, especially as she follows the journey of student doctors through to seeing them working as consultants. She has also been imparting her wisdom to the next generation, training other ward clerks. “I tell them to come in with a big smile, take a deep breath, be happy and confident, and just be yourself.”
She met her husband at Queen Victoria Hospital and has been married for 35 years, saying her proudest achievement is becoming a grandmother.
Vivien Southern – Associate Nurse Unit Manager, Unit 3, Mental Health Program, Dandenong Hospital
Vivien describes her career as starting in the generation of nurses who wore “caps, capes and veils”. She began her time at Monash Health at the Kingston Centre in 1980 and has witnessed many changes over her 25 years there. 15 years ago, Vivien made the move to Dandenong Hospital where she works as an Associate Nurse Unit Manager in the Mental Health Program on Unit 3.
She started as an enrolled nurse but progressed to become a registered nurse. She has seen many progressive improvements to our health service during her time, including the introduction of maternity and paternity leave. She has reached 40 years of service and plans to continue working a few more years. COVID-19 has reminded her that she is not ready to retire just yet!
Michael Wheeler – Pathology Operations Manager, Monash Medical Centre
Michael started his career with Monash Health as a Trainee Scientist at Dandenong Hospital in 1980, training in all disciplines before moving into Haematology and specialising coagulation.
In 1997, with the establishment of Southern Health and merger of laboratories, he was appointed the Principal Scientist of Haematology at Monash Medical Centre and has been involved in haematology diagnostic research.
Michael is a Fellow of Australian Institute of Medical Scientists and has been recognised with the George Milson Memorial Award for significant service to the Medical Science profession. Michael represented Monash Health at scientific meetings nationally and internationally, and sits on national committees for AIMS and the Medicare Pathology Services Advisory Committee.
Since July 2019, he has been working as the Pathology Operations Manager and his colleagues describe him as enthusiastic, innovative, hard-working and someone who will always make you smile. When he is away from work, Michael loves playing keyboards and travelling with his family.
Suzanne Swan – Clinical Pharmacist, Dandenong Hospital
Suzanne started at Dandenong Hospital in 1980 as a newlywed and newly qualified pharmacist. It was a brand new role and she was very enthusiastic. Her passion for clinical pharmacy is the reason that 40 years on, she is still doing the job she loves. She has enjoyed the opportunities offered at Monash Health, particularly around the development and interaction of interdisciplinary teams.
Suzanne also has a strong commitment to teaching the next generation. She oversees the pharmacy students on placement at the Dandenong campus. She is also a student preceptor for Monash University and is credentialed to complete ClinCATs for pharmacists. Clinical education and sharing her knowledge are what drives Suzanne, whether that’s in a one-on-one conversation, in teams, or through initiatives such as program continuous quality improvement committees and grand rounds. She is helpful, caring and patient-focused.
Julie Woolsey – Associate Nurse Manager, Dandenong ICU
Julie Woolsey works at Dandenong ICU and has been with Monash Health for 40 years. She names her greatest achievements at Monash Health as all the opportunities she has been given including being a critical care nurse, being an Associate Nurse Unit Manager and being an outreach registered nurse. Her wealth of experience is demonstrated in her skill and leadership on the ward.
When Julie reflects on her years of service, her fondest memories relate to her colleagues and how much she enjoys working with them. She speaks to the great culture of her unit and how much she values looking after critically ill patients and their families. She demonstrates kindness, compassion and leadership when engaging with colleagues, patients and their families.
A big congratulations to all our Length of Service Award recipients for the work they do to care for our patients, their families and the community. Your dedicated service is deserving of celebration!
Approved by David Bloxham