A wonderful life

Eugenie May Lynch

Australia Day 2008 was the first anniversary of the death of Genie Lynch, aged 46. It is a measure of the shock her colleagues have felt about her sudden death that it has taken us a year to write this tribute to her. All of us who were present at the time will never forget the events of Australia Day 2007 when we lost our dear colleague and friend. We remember her well, but we want others to know something of the impact she had on our lives.

Genie started her nursing career at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) in 1979. After completing her General training, Genie spent a year in the then Page Chest Pavilion at RPAH. After subsequently training as a midwife at The Nepean Hospital in 1983, she then worked as a midwife at Nepean and Westmead Hospitals. Her one outing beyond the NSW public health system was as an Occupational Health nurse with the Commonwealth Bank. In 1989, she returned to midwifery at what was then King George V Memorial Hospital for Mothers and Babies. She later furthered her career by sitting for and passing the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners exam in 1998. She also gained a Graduate Certificate in Nursing Management from UTS in recent years.

Her most recent role was as the inaugural ACCESS Midwife in the Maternity Unit at RPAH. The ACCESS Midwife is responsible for bed management and clinical support in both the post-natal and delivery wards and general problem solving throughout the Maternity Unit.

It was to her credit as an efficient, good humoured and natural manager that the ACCESS role was quickly entrenched as something that could not be done without.

Her interests outside nursing centred on her family. She married Norm in 1985 and had two sons, Alex and Peter. As dear as her husband and sons were to her, Genie spoke with obvious care and warmth about her extended family as well. Her parents-in-law at Mudgee, her mother in a local nursing home and her sisters all received loyal love and support from Genie. Those of us who worked with Genie admired her determination to ‘be there’ for her family.

Genie had a great gift for friendship. She always had a funny story to tell, frequently at her own expense. She gave time to friendship. She was a great coffee drinker and a regular walker and gym attender. For Genie, these activities were mainly about extending her circle of friends.

Genie was always ready to slip into her role as nurse with her friends. It was not unusual for her to help young mothers in the neighbourhood with the occasional bit of practical advice on baby care. She was a good neighbour. Some of her neighbours were elderly and Genie took it on herself to keep an unobtrusive eye on their well-being. The street parties she helped organise at Christmas time were a great pleasure to her.

Genie’s life was cut short too soon but it was a wonderful life. She was happy in her family life and her professional life. She was successful in both because she infused her professional life with the warmth and pleasure she gained from her family. In return, the confidence and competence she gained from a successful professional life made her a much-loved and respected wife, mother, neighbour, midwife/nurse and friend.

By midwives from RPA Women and Babies