25 September 2023

UC honours former Chief Nurse

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Photo: Vanessa Lam

The contribution and achievements of ACT Health’s longest-serving Chief Nurse, Veronica “Ronnie” Croome (pictured) have been recognised with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Canberra (UC).

Dr Croome, who is now retired, said she had a close connection with and many fond memories of the University of Canberra and it was a “tremendous honour” to receive the award.

She said nursing had not necessarily been her preferred career, but the opportunity to move out of home and do something caring was what attracted her.

“It was only a matter of moments before I started to really understand and appreciate how wonderful the profession really is,” Dr Croome said.

“Nursing gives you the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives that I never thought was possible.”

She said she originally wanted to be a teacher — changing lives in another way.

In honouring Dr Croome, the UC said that during her tenure as ACT Chief Nurse (2009–17), she campaigned tirelessly to improve nursing and midwifery care standards across the ACT.

It said she was the driving force behind numerous clinical, education and research partnerships, including a new clinical school for nursing, midwifery and allied health at Canberra Hospital which was run in conjunction with staff from UC’s Faculty of Health.

It said Dr Croome also helped develop Australia’s first nurse-led walk-in centre, at the Canberra Hospital.

Her career began in 1973 at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, where she trained in general and intensive care nursing; she also worked at Westmead, Royal Prince Alfred and Concord Hospitals.

Dr Croome said she hoped to inspire and encourage the University’s newest graduates to approach their careers with enthusiasm and respect for others.

“I want to impress upon them that they have chosen a wonderful career in health that can take them anywhere and everywhere that they wish to go,” she said.

“I want them to think, ‘If she can do it, so can I’,” Dr Croome said.

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