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Legacy left for Lithgow

15 Jul 2021

 

The beating heart of Lithgow Hospital, General Manager, Jill Marjoram closed a chapter on a defining career when she recently retired, but her significant legacy will continue within the walls of the Hospital she helped build.

In 46 years of service in health, 26 of those at Lithgow Hospital, Jill has led enormous change in the region and her compassionate care will stand the test of time.

Starting as a student Nurse in 1975, and working in a variety of hospitals, she was appointed as Director of Nursing – Lithgow in 1995, and General Manager – Lithgow/Portland in 2005.

“Even with the changes a General Manager role brings, you can’t lose sight of the fact that on the ground someone’s loved one is sick and they don’t know what to do,” says Jill.


“They are in a hard place having a hard time, that hasn’t changed in all the years. The way we do look after people has changed, the caring part hasn’t.”


“They are in a hard place having a hard time, that hasn’t changed in all the years. The way we do look after people has changed, the caring part hasn’t.”

“That’s what the General Manager job is – to make sure that we don’t lose the commitment to the fact that the patient comes first. Fundamentally it is what we are all here for,” says Jill.

Her legacy permeates every part of Lithgow Hospital. It’s in the building she was a part of designing and commissioning, leading its move from the Rural Health Service into NBMLHD, it’s in the staff she mentored, and it’s in the patients she cared for.

“I was lucky to be part of the group that led the design and vision for Lithgow. It set us up 25 years ago, and to this day it is still such a functional and state of the art building,” says Jill.

In 2006, along with the Portland community, Jill proudly led the redevelopment of Portland establishing and commissioning the Portland Tabulam Health Centre.

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Jill has fond memories of the many staff she watched and supported to grow from kids on work experience into the Hospital’s leaders.

“It’s an amazing thing to develop those people, to see them fly - that’s special,” says Jill.

Danell Thompson, Lithgow Hospital’s Nurse Unit Manager and Midwifery Unit Manager reflects on the impression Jill made on her when she was young.

“I’ve known Jill since 1989 when I attended work experience. She always had a calm and reassuring presence in the workplace and was intuitive and responsive to all situations. Jill instilled me with confidence and has always encouraged me to extend myself into leadership roles,” says Danell.

Jill’s proudest achievement is fostering the hospital’s culture of learning.


“We’re a place where people get good foundational knowledge they can apply to many areas across life and health. We’ve got medical students, interns, educators, and we proudly train our own,” says Jill.


“We’re a place where people get good foundational knowledge they can apply to many areas across life and health. We’ve got medical students, interns, educators, and we proudly train our own,” says Jill.

She negotiated a partnership with Charles Sturt University to develop external modules in midwifery and arranged for Lithgow Hospital to be accredited to train midwives.

“That midwifery program exists because we did the work at the time. It’s been 20 years that young people have been able to train as midwives locally and not have to leave. It means we’ve been able to maintain a midwifery workforce, and we’ve got a service which we wouldn’t have had if we didn’t do that,” says Jill.

A career full of precious memories, it’s her own time as a midwife, and in palliative care, that Jill treasures the most.

“They are some of the most personal moments families have. You are privileged to be allowed into someone’s space that closely at that time. I always treasured being allowed to be involved in another person’s / families most intimate moments and that you are trusted. It’s a real honour, I never took that for granted,” says Jill.

This stayed with Jill as she moved into leadership positions.

That is also the sentiment that colleagues will remember her for.

“Jill always understood and valued the importance of direct patient care and has always prioritised the care of the Lithgow community above everything else. Her dedication and passion for Lithgow Health Service will always be valued,” says Danell.

Throughout her retirement Jill looks forward to slowing down and travelling, once we can again.