Always looking on the bright side of life

Jill Maclaine

Gillian Mary Maclaine, known as Jill to her friends and colleagues, was an unassuming and kind person who loved her work, caring for those in need, and working along compassionate people. She was born in Scotland and came to Australia with her brother when she was 18 months of age. The family spent time in the Sunraysia region of Victoria and other regional areas.

In 1974, Jill completed her one-year Enrolled Nurse training at Canberra Hospital, ACT. Three years later, she completed her RN training at the same hospital. Following this, until 1984, she devoted herself to her family and raising her two children Belinda and Simon. From 1984-2000, she worked at the Mercy Hospital in Albury, NSW, on a medical/palliative care ward and the geriatric assessment unit.

With a passion for personal and professional growth, Jill undertook various studies in this period as well. In 1997 she obtained her Graduate Diploma in Advanced Nursing at La Trobe University. During 2000-2001, she also coordinated and taught courses in aged care for personal carers at TAFE. In May 2001 she commenced work at Wodonga Regional Health Service, and worked on the acute Medical Unit until 2004.

Jill valued her friendships highly and her friendly, easy-going nature allowed her to gain new friends wherever she went. She always looked for the best in people and enjoyed sharing a chat and exchanging experiences. Colleagues and friends who worked with Jill at the Albury Mercy Hospital and Wodonga District Hospital remember a friendly, gentle person who always had a professional rapport with staff and patients.

In December 2003, Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer. She received treatment and packed up to fulfill a lifelong dream of having her own house by the sea. So she settled in beautiful Malua Bay NSW and began work at Edgewood Park Residential Aged Care Facility. With her gentle, easy-going nature, Jill quickly became part of the team at Edgewood Park.

Described by friends and colleagues as a beautiful person inside and out, she was a pleasure to work with, a lady and an excellent and empathetic nurse. Every shift you worked with Jill was a good one.

During her days off, Jill indulged in all her greatest loves: gardening, walking on the beach with her beloved poodle Molly, reading, cooking, sharing her new home with her family and spending time with friends, old and new. Friends also shared her pride in Belinda and Simon and celebrated with her their achievements. Jill joined the local craft group and made more special friends there. We always knew Monday was her craft day and not to ring her for an extra shift.

Jill was able to continue nursing until November 2005. She continued to be involved in Edgewood Park, joining us for the annual cricket game on the ‘back lawn’ on Australia Day and sending us inspirational letters.

In May 2006, Jill passed away in her beloved Malua Bay home, with her family by her side. She is remembered as a good friend, colleague and a loving mother, daughter and sister by all who were privileged to know her.

Always positive and looking for the best she could get out of any opportunity, Jill left her family and friends with these words in a letter she composed before her passing:

‘I have enjoyed my life and it has only gotten better … All have a good life too. Look on the bright side, look for the best in everything, challenge yourself, try new things, it’s invigorating. Each new achievement encourages confidence for more.’ By Belinda King, Helen Allen and Rachel Gillett, Edgewood Park Residential Aged Care Facility