Bundaberg local Trish Byrne has spent nearly 50 years nursing and caring for people in the community, and the dedicated grandmother has now added spiritual support manager to her long-standing career.
Trish has recently been appointed Mission and Pastoral Care Manager at Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg where she has a strong connection, having been hired to work there as a student nurse in the early days of her career in 1972.
“This is my fourth position at Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg, and I return because I identify with the values of the Sisters of Mercy who established Mater hospitals in Queensland more than a century ago,” she said.
“Those values include respect for the dignity of every person and walking alongside people in their lives with compassion and support. Mater has always been a place where I feel like I belong.”
While working as a registered nurse and quality coordinator in hospitals and community services for much of her career, Trish has also been a long-term active member of the Catholic Parish of Bundaberg.
Over the last decade, she has been drawn to the study of theology and pastoral care.
“I’ve been a spiritual seeker since my senior years at All Hallows’ School in Brisbane, and this led me to fly to Sydney for two years to attend two Clinical Pastoral Education courses as part of a Master of Arts in Chaplaincy at Sydney College of Divinity,” she said.
“It became my dream to train others in this compassionate respectful model of spiritual support. After completing my Masters, I received further training and am now able to train others in pastoral care.”
In her new role, Trish will provide pastoral care to patients and their families, as well as train Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg staff on the importance of spirituality in the care of patients.
“Pastoral care workers are an integral part of any hospital,” she said.
“Trauma, illness, loss and grief can knock people off balance, and, at such times, pastoral carers can provide a supportive presence—listening with acceptance and compassion. In this safe space, people are no longer alone in their difficulty, and may be empowered to regain their balance and reconnect to their own sources of strength and meaning.
“I’m looking forward to walking with the people at Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg.”
Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg Executive Officer Catherine Hackney said Trish would provide an enhanced service to patients and their families, and would share invaluable pastoral care experience and skills with staff.
“We are incredibly excited that someone with Trish’s experience and dedication has taken on the role of Mission and Pastoral Care Manager and will work closely with her to continue to improve the compassionate care we provide to our patients,” she said.