Senior midwife was one in a million

THERESE ANN DARWEN (NéE MCKAY)
12 September 1956 – 17 June 2007

Therese was the second of six children to Beriniece and Ben McKay. Growing up in Greenacre, Therese left home at age 17 to undertake her general nursing training at Lewisham Hospital from 1974–1977, following in the footsteps of her mother who was also a nurse.

On completion of her training, Therese travelled to Europe for nine months. On her return she met her future husband, Christopher Darwen.

Courting ensued while Therese completed midwifery at Bankstown Hospital from 1978–1979. Midwifery was to become her passion and speciality.

In 1980 Chris and Therese married and had two boys, Matthew in 1984 and Patrick in 1987. They lived at Picnic Point and enjoyed a marriage of 27 years.

From 1979–1984 Therese worked at Greenoaks Private Hospital as a surgical nurse and as the bookings coordinator. With demonstrated leadership skills, Therese gained promotion to Deputy Director of Nursing for 18 months.

Parenting then became her main focus for a few years until 1987–1988 when Therese worked in the geriatric assessment unit in rehabilitation at Canterbury Hospital with her mother, who was also a registered nurse.

Therese’s passion for midwifery drew her back to Bankstown Private Hospital (Greenoaks) from 1988 till 1999 to work as a midwife in the delivery suite, special care nursery and in the postnatal ward.

This experience enabled Therese to achieve Clinical Nurse Specialist status as the parenthood class coordinator/ educator and as coordinator of the Pre-admission Clinic. In 1999-2002 Therese helped commission the midwifery unit at Sydney South West Private Hospital and became second in charge of the unit.

Therese was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. Despite this diagnosis, Therese was a tower of strength. She continued to work full-time while having chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

In 2002, Therese moved on to Calvary Hurstville Community Private Hospital as the Nursing Unit Manager and relieved the Director of Nursing when on leave.

During this period Therese maintained her passion for midwifery and nursing, attending many seminars and courses, and was an active member of both NACE and the NSW Nurses’ Association.

Therese was held in the highest regard by colleagues, patients, friends and family. She was caring, dependable, invaluable, unforgettable – someone exceptional, thoughtful and unique. Therese made everyone feel special. She was a truly wonderful kind person; an earth angel.

Therese lost her battle with cancer on 17 June. It may have killed her, but it never killed her spirit! She touched the hearts of so many people.

Therese was remarkable; one in a million. She is dearly missed by her family, friends and colleagues and will be remembered with love and admiration. She was an inspiration to us all.

By Kerrie Devereux, Midwife & Branch Secretary, Hurstville Community Hospital.