Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

Celebrating nurses who have cared for the Sunshine Coast

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Celebrating nurses who have cared for the Sunshine Coast

[pj-news-ticker]

Then & Now: How nurses have cared for the Sunshine Coast

Do you have a news tip? Click here to send to our news team.

Traveller’s delight: enormous expo will get you on the road to adventure

Thousands of keen travellers and outdoor enthusiasts are set to converge on an enormous expo, amid a boom in the caravanning and camping industry. For More

Solo exhibition of Coast’s own Archibald Prize finalist

From a moonlit Beerburrum landscape to a richly detailed portrait of the late Archie Roach, a wide range of works by local artist Peter More

Brighter future for town’s oldest and rarest buildings

Caloundra's historic and unique lighthouses are set to undergo rehabilitation work to ensure the region’s signature maritime beacons stand the test of time. Work will More

Purr-fect crime? Mystery ‘catnapping’ case ramps up

He’s been spotted more than 30km from where he vanished nearly a month ago, but Schultz the cat’s owners won’t give up. The search for More

Sand castles, sharks and the Seal Park: unfamiliar stories of the old days

Imagine ziplining over Mapleton Falls, going to the zoo at Tanawha and being blocked from a road because you didn’t have the key. Here are More

Critical: mum-and-dad owners at breaking point

Worker shortages “across all industries” are severely impacting many Sunshine Coast businesses, forcing temporary closures, exhausting owners and frustrating customers. While the ongoing fallout from More

So much has changed since Glennis McAlpine became a nurse 47 years ago. 

Today Sunshine Coast nurses work in one of Australia’s most modern facilities, boasting the latest medical technologies. 

But back then, Ms McAlpine recalls constantly boiling and sterilising equipment, reusing needles and glass syringes and doing lots more cleaning. 

“We had glass bottles for the IV fluids and we had to count the number of drops per minute so we knew the formulas,” said Ms McAlpine. 

“Now it’s all done by machines.” 


In those days, patient information and hospital records were written with pen and paper. 

“These days I spend more time on my bottom in front of the computer looking up patient notes,” she laughed. 

“IT is probably one the of the most challenging parts of the role. When I started out everything was hand-written.” 

Nurses have been in the spotlight in this pandemic year for risking their own lives to care for patients and working long and tiring hours. 

The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is giving Australians the opportunity to thank nurses through its inaugural It’s Time for Nurses 24-hour Giving Day on Wednesday raising money for a nurses’ scholarship fund.

The Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service has more than 2500 full-time nurses working across four hospitals in Kawana, Caloundra, Maleny and Nambour. 

Nurses at Caloundra Health Service’s fever clinic. Picture: Facebook


Nurses have been vital to the region since the time of early settlement when there were no doctors to treat the growing population. 

The Sunshine Coast’s pioneers who became sick or injured were cared for exclusively by nurses and each district had women who were skilled midwives and delivered many babies before hospitals were built. 

Patients who required further medical care were transported by train to Gympie or Brisbane. 

Eventually in the early 1900s the region’s first doctor, Arthur E Malaher, began consulting from the Royal Hotel in Currie Street and Nambour Hospital opened in 1930. 

Glennis McAlpine has been a nurse for 47 years and has returned to one of the places she started. Picture: Supplied.

Glennis McApline began her career in 1973 in Melbourne which involved six weeks of learning basics like making beds and washing patients before being thrown straight onto the ward. 

The rest of her three-year education was mostly hands-on before she was registered and embarked on a career spanning almost five decades. 


These days she works at Maleny Soldiers Memorial Hospital which was built to honour soldiers after the first World War. 

Maleny recently celebrated the hospital’s 100th anniversary, reflecting on a past that included an attempt to shut it down in the 1980s and its roof blowing off in wild weather in 1963. 

As Ms McApline prepares to retire in a year, she said she expected more to change in her profession, especially with the evolving pandemic. 

While reluctant to step away from the job she loves and the people she cares for, she said it was probably time. 

“There must be younger people than me who want to work here so it’s time to hand it to someone else.” 

Maleny Soldiers Memorial Hospital turned 100 this year. Picture: Supplied