Golden anniversary for Jan Ryan


We would like to share with our nursing colleagues a tribute to one of our valued peers, Jan Ryan, who works at the Bungora Opioid Treatment Unit in Wollongong. We would like to congratulate Jan on a long and successful nursing career.

Jan commenced her general nurse training in 1955, at the Mater Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand, and was registered in 1958. Jan trained as a maternity nurse and then completed her psychiatric training at Kingseat Psychiatric Hospital, Auckland in 1960.

Jan’s career has spanned various fields and various countries as she travelled with her family. Her initial specialty area as a registered nurse was in theatres, working in both the Mater Hospital and the Rawhiti Hospital in Auckland. Travelling again, Jan spent a period of time as a general nurse in Pennsylvania, USA before moving to Australia.

In April 1975, Jan began her long involvement with health care in the Illawarra area, firstly as a community nurse in what was then the Illawarra Health Commission. She remained in this position, interspersed with family commitments and further travel, until 1988. During this time, she was involved in community education and training programs. Towards the end of 1988, Jan’s family moved to New Zealand. Before moving back to New Zealand, a colleague encouraged her to attend a drug and alcohol course, which proved to be the beginning of a new field of practice for Jan. For the next four years, Jan worked with Auckland Drug and Alcohol Services, as Coordinator for Recovery House. She also worked as a nurse counsellor in general drug and alcohol services.

Arriving back in Australia in 1992, Jan commenced work with Illawarra Health Drug and Alcohol Services, a position she retains to this time. Jan currently works at Bungora Opioid Treatment Unit in Wollongong, a SESIH service, where her skills and knowledge continue to be appreciated by staff and clients alike. It should be noted that Jan did attempt a brief retirement in 2002, but returned to our service in 2004.

Jan is a very valued member of staff, and makes a significant contribution to the success of the team. Staff especially appreciate her thoughtfulness, which extends to bringing flowers from her garden to the unit each week, and bringing lunch for the team on days she is on duty. She is our representative on the Drug and Alcohol Workforce Development and Research Committee, and she keeps a close eye on and maintains our orientation package and program. Jan also performs a key role in the dispensing of opioid treatment therapy.

We would like to acknowledge our wonderful team member, and also add that Jan has just recently celebrated her 70th birthday, with a memorable party for her family, friends and colleagues. She is also about to celebrate that amazing nursing achievement … a golden anniversary (50 years) as a Registered Nurse, and still working hard.

We hope her second attempt at retirement is still a few years away.