Congupna’s Sandra Ryan retires from Shepparton Private Hospital

By Ashlea Witoslawski

For 27 years, Congupna’s Sandra Ryan has set the same digital alarm clock and woken to the sound of a blaring foghorn at any hour for her shifts at Shepparton Private Hospital.

For Mrs Ryan and her husband Kevin, silence and the removal of the alarm clock comes as she steps away from her role in environmental services on Monday.

Mrs Ryan found the job as her mother-in-law lived next door to the boss.

‘‘It was a bit daunting at first, but I got used it,’’ she said.

‘‘I never thought I’d last this long.’’

Walking 15000 steps a shift, Mrs Ryan has seen a lot of changes during the years, including the size of the hospital.

‘‘It’s doubled in size since I began,’’ she said.

Predominantly working to maintain cleanliness across the patients’ rooms, Mrs Ryan’s happy nature was known for bringing a smile to the faces of those she visited.

‘‘My laughter can be heard down the passage,’’ she said.

During the years she has also helped out in the kitchen and as an orderly when needed.

Mrs Ryan remembers a time when it was the role of the environmental services team to wash all the linen for the patients.

Mrs Ryan’s daughter Rebekah often hears positive stories about her mother from nurses when they enter the clothing shop she manages in Shepparton.

‘‘I get a lot of ladies come in and they’ll tell me about Mum and how much they love her and her contagious personality,’’ she said.

‘‘Mum thinks she’s a nurse and sometimes I have to remind her she is in house keeping.’’

She said her mother’s work ethic and commitment to the job had been evident during the years, taking patient confidentiality very seriously.

‘‘I’ve had friends in the hospital having babies and Mum hasn’t said anything,’’ she said.

Finishing up on Monday, Mrs Ryan is grateful to have worked in a supportive environment and thankful to her boss and the lifelong friends she has made.

Mrs Ryan is looking forward to retirement and enjoying her hobbies, including gardening, dog sitting and baking.

She will be joining Kevin in retirement and the pair plans to travel to Tasmania in March and on The Ghan in the near future.

She is also ready to spend more time with her children Rebekah, Grahame and Natalie, as well as her grandchildren Ruby, Oscar and Heidi.