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Nurse to all

Kate Hamilton retires after 30 years in the North

Erin Fletcher
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Apr 16/03) - Yellowknife Health and Social Services public health nurse Kate Hamilton is really a nurse of all trades.

NNSL Photo

Kate Hamilton sits beside the examination table in the office she's worked from for 23 years at Yellowknife Health and Social Services Association. - Erin Fletcher/NNSL photo

In the past 30 years she's done everything from midwifery to immunization and sexually transmitted disease education for people on Broughton Island, Aklavik and Yellowknife.

"She is a unique person in that nothing is ever a big deal to do. If a client needs something she goes above and beyond," said Karen DeViller, director of community health for Yellowknife Health and Social Services Association.

Last week dozens of Hamilton's friends, co-workers and admirers gathered to bid adieu and wish her a long and happy retirement.

Her two grown daughters, Lisa and Judith Hamilton, summed up their mother's passion for nursing in a few words.

"She's a nurse to all," said Lisa, adding as a child her friends would often come over to ask her mother questions.

"You couldn't get away with a sick day when your mom's a nurse," she laughed.

Hamilton was at the forefront of health-care provision in the North. She spent several years working on Broughton Island where there were two nurses and no doctors. The closest telephone was a two-mile snowmobile ride away and the nearest doctor was a flight away.

"You had to have your wits about you," she laughed.

She said she was "dead lucky" not to have lost a patient because of the distance.

"She is a great nurse and has a great feeling for people," said long-time friend and co-worker Jan Stirling.

"It was wonderful working with Kate."

Hamilton will move to Vancouver Island at the end of April where she can golf to her heart's content.