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A tribute to rural nursing pioneer Peggy Young.

For all of us, there are people in our lives who influence our professional style and career choices. I wish to pay tribute to the life of Peggy Young (pictured right), who for me was that person. She represented what is meant by "the potential of nursing" and demonstrated in every way the difference we, as nurses, can make to the Lives of our community.

Peggy truly was one of our pioneers in rural nursing. When party-line phones were the norm; boat travel often a quicker choice than the steep single-lane clay roads; and rescue helicopters not common place, Peggy worked as the district nurse for the outer Pelorus Sounds. She was based at French Pass and covered, single-handedly, a vast and isolated area, including nearby D'Urville Island.

Her role incorporated home visiting for public health, well-child and district nursing patients, running a clinic at French Pass and attending to the emergencies that arose throughout the week. Often these events involved boat travel to retrieve an unwell or injured patient. Her trusty yellow landrover was a familiar sight on the farm roads between 1972 and 1991 as she weaved down steep slopes to visit remote households. The residents looked forward to these visits as something of a social occasion; an opportunity to be connected to their wider community by this dependable figure. Many patients were able to remain in their homes despite this geographical isolation, because of Peggy's dedication.

During the holiday season, the local population swelled as families, like my own, took up residence in baches throughout the district. On several occasions over the years, we relied on Peggy's nursing knowledge and skill to assist us in managing acute wounds (fishing related!), pneumonia and early appendicitis. In "Peggy-style" there was never a fuss, but sound treatment advice, appropriate nursing care and/ or referral.

This level-headed, capable approach won Peggy the respect of fellow colleagues throughout the wider Nelson and Havelock districts. She liaised with GPs and hospital-based nurses in an effort to advocate and arrange the best care for their shared patients. Today we'd call it "collaborative case management"!

In wider matters of health and welfare, Peggy was never afraid to voice her opinions to the local district council or area health board, on behalf of the community. She was immersed in all she did as part of this lifestyle; the school, the hall committee, the local church, women's division. Each of these groups benefited from her strength, wisdom and focal knowledge.

In 1991 she retired with her husband Alan to Cissy Bay in the Pelorus Sounds. In 1995 she was awarded the QSM for services to her community.

Peggy died suddenly in June this year, leaving behind a community that had been truly enriched by her total commitment and loyalty. She has been a real inspiration to those of us fortunate enough to have watched her in action, or to have been on the receiving end of her wonderful community-based nursing care. Her legacy to the development of nursing will live on.

Obituary by friend and nursing colleague
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Title Annotation:News And Events
Author:Davidson, Louisa
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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