Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) Flight Nurse Lois Lanyon has called time on a long and well-travelled nursing career spanning almost 50 years.
Lois began nursing when she was just 17 and went on to help countless people in a career that took her from one side of the country to the other, and everywhere in between.
She spent the last eight years of her career as a Flight Nurse and Midwife for the RFDS in Queensland, with seven of those in Bundaberg and the last year as a Locum nurse, working at different RFDS Bases across the state.
“This was such a great way to finish out my career,” she said. “Being able to work in different parts of Queensland and with so many wonderful people really summed up why I loved working for the Flying Doctor.”
Graphic: Lois Lanyon retirement
Lois’ says her nursing career was instigated by a comment made, somewhat in jest, by her father.
After her three older sisters had all taken on clerical jobs, he suggested she should become a nurse to “make sure he was looked after in his old age”.
It was after she gathered significant experience in senior roles in rural and remote hospitals that she was finally able to realise her dream of working with the RFDS.
“Ever since I became a nurse, it was always my dream to work for the RFDS,” Lois said.
“I trained and worked as a nurse in regional Victoria, then moved to the Gold Coast with our three children. I worked in emergency care for 20 years before a secondment to Darwin working in the Trauma and Birthing Units. It was after that when I saw the position for a flight nurse in WA.
“My husband and I decided to go on another adventure, and I spent a year working as an RFDS Flight Nurse working in the Kimberley, before relocating to Bundaberg with the RFDS, which allowed us to be closer to our kids again.”
Lois said being born and bred on a farm in regional Australia had instilled a sense of pride in her about the Flying Doctor and had put her in good stead to deliver healthcare to these parts of the country.
“Coming from the country, you have a good understanding of drought, floods and everything that comes with living outside of the major cities,” she said. “And one of those things is how easy it is to take access to healthcare for granted.
“When you fly into these communities you can see the look on people’s faces when we arrive, and you know what the Flying Doctor means to them.
“It’s the part of nursing I love, and no matter how difficult being a flight nurse is, and it is difficult, it is also extremely rewarding.”
Lois said a sense of adventure was an essential character trait for the role.
“You must also expect the unexpected. No two days are ever the same,” she said.
“I had high expectations of what it would be like to be a Flight Nurse with the Flying Doctor, and it certainly lived up to those expectations.
“It’s with a lot of joy and sadness that I am leaving, because I loved my job. But it is incredibly humbling to know that I was a part of that team, and I made a difference.”