Long-serving nurse led by example

Recognised. . . Gore Health chief executive Karl Metzler and clinical manager Glenda Maxwell present former clinical manager Delwyn Soper (centre) with flowers at a morning tea farewell last week. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Gore Health staff members paid tribute to a long-serving colleague at her farewell morning tea last week.

Clinical manager Delwyn Soper has resigned because of ongoing health issues.

Chief executive Karl Metzler said Mrs Soper was someone who led by example.

‘‘The thing that stands out for me when I think of Delwyn is a woman with enormous integrity who’s incredibly passionate about her profession and someone who is enormously kind and gentle.’’

Mrs Soper’s oft repeated quote that it was an ‘‘honour and a privilege to be a nurse ’’ at a time when people were most vulnerable and unwell was something that impacted him, Mr Metzler said.

‘‘That to me epitomises and sums up what a nurse is all about and all that you’ve done, and you live by that.’’

He remembered the hot summer day Mrs Soper and her husband Trevor arrived with a load of bark chip for his garden, Mr Metzler said.

He supervised with a cold drink in his hand while the couple offloaded the chip by shovel.

‘‘The path you’ve walked speaks volumes of your perseverance and tenacity.

‘‘You’re one tough cookie.’’

Mrs Soper said even as a child she had wanted to be a nurse but did not train until her mid-30s.

‘‘I was a very late starter.’’ She had considered training as a doctor but decided ‘‘nursing had the more personal touch’’.

She studied nursing at the Southern Institute of Technology and was so determined to succeed she was top of her class each year.

‘‘It was so important to me.’’

During her last year of training in 2000, she completed a practical placement at Gore Health and joined the staff at the end of the year as a healthcare assistant before she was registered as a nurse.

She carried on working there when her registration came through.

‘‘I was on the ward for a few years and then I was encouraged to go into the emergency department.’’

She also worked in other areas of the hospital.

While she worked she completed a postgraduate diploma in health sciences at Auckland University.

In 2012 the clinical manager position became available.

She asked her father Douglas Dixey if she should apply for the job and he encouraged her to.

While she enjoyed the role she missed the contact with patients and would sometimes leave her office to find someone to make a cup of tea for or help in some other way.

There were many aspects of her career that were very satisfying, Mrs Soper said.

‘‘I think I can be proud of the fact I progressed from new grad through to clinical manager.

‘‘Seeing the lovely nurses I’ve hired over the years do so well and progress in their career — that’s very rewarding.’’

Many nurses had reminded her of the times she had given them an encouraging word.

‘‘I’ve been shocked to bits that they’ve remembered that.’’

It was also rewarding ‘‘to be able to touch people in some way’’.

Now she had more time on her hands she was looking forward to spending more time in the garden and on her other hobbies.

‘‘I really do love my sewing, knitting, gardening.’’