swhhs media release st george don

4 June, 2015
The DON a decade on
The St George Hospital is a welcoming hive of activity.
The 28-bed facility offers medical and emergency services, including surgical services, there is
a birthing facility, visiting specialists and outreach clinics along with telehealth facilities which
are in constant use.
Along with a great team of administration, operational, clinical and community and allied health
staff, the woman helping to guide the facility is the St George Hospital Director of Nursing
(DON) Patrice Robinson.
She is celebrating ten years at the hospital. “I came for six months,” Ms Robinson laughed.
“I love St George. Personally and professionally it has been very good to me.”
A hospital DON is in charge of the staff and oversees that the patients receive the health care
they expect from the facility.
From developing and implementing policy and procedure to creating the culture of the hospital
“The role of a DON in these small facilities is to manage everything and know everything,” Ms
Robinson smiled.
“One moment you can be advising on patient care, the next you can be consulted on things like
broken pipes to painting to what we will do about the mowing.”
As a people orientated problem solver, it is a multitasking role that suits Ms Robinson abilities
She grew up in Longreach the daughter of a country nurse and was guided into the profession
along with her sister.
After a long and fulfilling career spanning from Cairns to Perth and the Sunshine Coast in
nursing, midwifery and then child health Ms Robinson was given the opportunity to return to the
Her initial term as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in St George extended into relieving as the DON
before replacing the long serving Miriam Heath on her retirement.
“St George has a long history of stability. In fact Dr Cameron Bardsley is only the fifth Medical
Superintendent the hospital has had since 1920,” she said.
“We have continuity of care because we have a very good team with everyone totally invested
in the hospital and the services we provide.
“I think a lot of that has to do with the town and the region.
“Everyone says that when you drive into St George there is an instant feeling of welcome, that
it’s a special place.”
When Ms Robinson first came to St George she joined the local Rotary Club as a way to
become involved in the community.
Last year she was awarded the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow for her commitment to the
humanitarian organisation.
“Rotary has opened up a whole new world for me and now my network of friends spans right
across Australia and overseas,” she said.
It is the combination of an exciting and challenging career in a close knit community that has Ms
Robinson thinking she is content to spend another decade at the St George Hospital.
“Who knows what the next year of your life is going to bring, but I am happy doing what I am
“Every day we are striving to do ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
Photo Caption; St George DON - St George Hospital DON Patrice Robinson said every
day they are striving to do ordinary things extraordinarily well.
For further information contact:
Sally Rigney
Acting Public Affairs Officer,
South West Hospital and Health Service
Phone: 0417 758 353
[email protected]