Sharon Huon, the Lilliane Brady Village’s director of nursing, has been an institution at the local retirement home for almost 30 years but now says it’s time for her to retire.
Mrs Huon gave her employer, Cobar Shire Council, almost 12 months notice of her impending retirement as it was expected the role would be a difficult one to fill.
And for council it did prove a hard task with Council’s human resources manager Summer Patterson reporting that it took almost a year of active recruitment to find the right person to take over the reins.
“We weren’t looking for someone to fill Sharon’s shoes, because that would be impossible, we were looking for someone to fit into our organisation that would bring a wealth of experience to offer a fresh perspective,” Ms Patterson said.
She said they canvassed several candidates before they found ‘the one’ which was Helen Spyt, from Brisbane, who commenced in the role on Monday.
Ms Spyt has over 30 years experience in health care and said she was “super excited” to be moving to town with her dog and making it their new home.
After completing her nursing degree at the University of Tasmania, Ms Spyt began her career as a theatre nurse in Abu Dhabi.
Upon returning to Australia, she has held various senior positions in acute and aged care across NSW and Queensland, and also served four years in the NSW Police Force as a Highway Patrol Officer.
“Her interpersonal skills are exceptional, her passion for what she does is obvious through every interaction and her genuine caring nature is exactly what is needed to take on such an important role in our organisation,” Ms Patterson said.
Council’s general manager Peter Vlatko said he was pleased to welcome Ms Spyt to the role and was sad to be farewelling Mrs Huon who he described as “one of the hardest working women” in their organisation.
“The Lilliane Brady Village has quite literally been Sharon’s life for almost 30 years.
“She has poured her heart and soul into providing the best possible care for hundreds of residents over the years,” Mr Vlatko said.
“She has endured many challenges and celebrated many great victories, most recently the completion of the extensions to the facility.
“Sharon wasn’t just the DON, she was often also acting as the RN on the floor, a kitchen hand, a personal carer, a cleaner, a chauffer and part of the choir during activity sessions.”
He said council very much appreciated everything Mrs Huon has done for the staff, residents, families, community, Council and the facility.
While Ms Spyt officially took over as the DON on Monday, Mrs Huon will be however still be at the Village for a bit longer to ensure there’s a smooth handover.
“Sharon has been an active participant in the recruitment process and is just as excited as we are about Helen’s arrival, Mr Vlatko said.