FAMILIAR FACE: Clinical nurse Dale McQuillan has worked at St Andrew's Ipswich Private Hospital for 25 years.
FAMILIAR FACE: Clinical nurse Dale McQuillan has worked at St Andrew's Ipswich Private Hospital for 25 years. Rob Williams

Much-loved nurse becomes a part of the family

MUMS and their bubs returned to the place where they shared the very first moments of a lifelong connection.

St Andrew's Ipswich Private Hospital hosted a first birthday celebration for its Women's and Children's Services unit, which opened as a part of the facility's $64 million redevelopment last year.

A handful of the 448 babies welcomed to the world at St Andrew's over the past 12 months were guests at a high tea to mark the milestone.

Nurse unit manager Rebecca Chalmers acknowledged the work done by the unit's four female obstetricians, midwives, birthing and parent educators and other health professionals.

Mrs Chalmers has been working in health care for more than 25 years and said it had been a pleasure to work in the top notch facilities.

Among other rooms, it is home to four deluxe double suites, enabling partners to comfortably be involved in the care of their newborns and three state-of-the-art birth suites complete with hotel-style furnishings.

Other maternity services include a modern special care nursery and a Well Baby Clinic that assists in monitoring the progress of babies, their feeding and sleep patterns and provides support and education for mothers.

"I recognise it is a privilege to be a part of our women's birthing journey and am passionate about making every patients' experience individual and positive," she said.

"I believe we provide outstanding care to all who walk through our doors. We are family. I love working with new parents and their babies."

Even as she reaches the end of her career, there is no shortage of new things to keep clinical nurse Dale McQuillan busy.


She is a much-loved figure by visitors and staff at St Andrew's Ipswich Private Hospital, having worked there for almost a quarter of a century.

Mrs McQuillan is in charge of the Well Baby Clinic and has been a familiar face there for 14 years. It is hard for her to put a finger on the number of babies she has cared for during that time.

"I really couldn't give you an honest answer there," Mrs MCQuillan laughed.

"Hundreds and hundreds, if it's not even thousands."

With the amount of babies she has seen in her time, it feels like she is part of more families than just her own flesh and blood.

On a first visit, the baby is weighed and measured and any issues identified.

"By the time the visit has finished, mum feels good and she's got the answers and we've got a plan if there's a problem," Mrs McQuillan said.

She sees mothers and their babies from when the bubs are born until they are 12 months of age, dealing with both of their needs.

After sending a healthy bub home, she regularly sees mums back again for their second, third or fourth babies and then, their friends, cousins and sisters.

"I get to know the family very well," she smiled.

"It's a real family affair. It's like déjà vu. They usually ring up and say 'I'll be seeing you soon.' I think that's nice.

"I do get a lot them back many times."

Her working life is drawing to a close but her passion for the job has not dampened, working 10-hour shifts four days a week at the Ipswich hospital.

"At this stage of a nursing career, it's a wonderful, wonderful ending to it because I can really feel as if I'm doing something, I'm really helping," Mrs McQuillan said.