Generational ties to Maryvale Private

Family ties: Three generations of the Smith family now work at Maryvale Private Hospital. Pictured from left is Rhys Smith, his parents Carol and Barry, and daughter Cassidy. Photograph supplied



THE Smith family now have three generations working at Maryvale Private Hospital.

For the last 30 years, the Smith name has become ingrained in Maryvale and the broader community.

It all started with Rhys. The first nurse of the family began his career with Maryvale in 1996. In 2001, his parents joined him at the hospital. Carol began work in the hospital’s administration staff, and her husband Barry began work as an orderly.

Now in the third generation of Smiths, Cassidy, the newest of the crew, has just begun casual work at the hospital while completing her graduate year at Latrobe Regional Hospital.

Cassidy began in April this year, eager to work alongside her family.

“My role there is prepping patients for theatre and getting them ready for whatever procedure they’re having done and discharging them, making sure they have all the right education and information, but I have been loving it so far it’s been such a good environment,” she said.

With a Smith family takeover of the hospital, Cassidy is excited to work shifts alongside her nearest and dearest.

“I’ve done a couple of shifts, and I also work on the ward, and that’s where my family are … the other day I got to sit with mama (her grandmother, Carol) at the desk. It was just really sweet.”

Exposed to the lifestyle and inspired by her parents, Cassidy knew she would take up a career in nursing.

“It helps when you have both parents that are nurses – you get a lot of help when you’re struggling with your assignments,” she said.

“It was actually a little bit intimidating going into a place where our family has worked for so long, but I’ve been welcomed so well, and I think it’s a very family-orientated environment anyway, but when you have so many generations there, I think it’s even more so.”

Not only does Cassidy’s family continue to work there, but so did her mother, Shona, for six years as a nurse and her grandmother, Lorna, as a cleaner. With three generations on both sides of Cassidy’s family having worked at the hospital, it really was quite the family affair.

“I would often work night shifts, and then Rhys would come in with the kids, and then we would change over, and I would go home, and he would do day shifts,” Shona (Cassidy’s mother) said.

Shona said that Maryvale was an attractive place to work as the team was united, with longevity and experience among the ranks.

Rhys studied at Churchill’s Monash University Campus, finishing his degree in 1994. Once he completed his graduate year at Dandenong Hospital in 1995, he returned home to Maryvale Hospital in 1996. Rhys worked at Maryvale in a permanent part-time role up until 2007, which then saw him pursue a career in occupational health nursing, working for many companies. During this time, Rhys remained a casual registered nurse at Maryvale.

“It’s pretty unique and special being able to work among your folks, including my wife and now our daughter,” Rhys said.

“When our daughter Cassidy chose nursing as a career option, we knew she’d make a great nurse. With nursing, you are virtually always guaranteed work with so many different areas.”

With Rhys having fond memories of Cassidy’s childhood spent among the Maryvale halls, the pair will now create new memories as colleagues.

“I vividly remember taking Cassidy to Maryvale as a toddler on my afternoon shifts to hand her over to mum, who was ward clerking at the time, and mum would then take her home while I was at work,” he said.

“Now, to think we will get the chance to work together makes me super proud of her.”

Cassidy recalls walking down the hospital halls with her brother Harrison – remembering how she used to sit as a child at her grandmother’s desk, highlighting away as she would wait to go home.

“(Maryvale) is very comfortable for me as a place where I’ve been for a very long time,” she said.

Rhys chose Maryvale Hospital in the mid-1990s because it had that familiar and homely feel.

“Being a smaller hospital, it had more of a family feel to it amongst staff,” he said.

Rhys said he enjoyed some of the perks of working in a private hospital – not having to work the night shift, self-rostering and the three-course meals provided by the kitchen to staff.

“We even had the occasional crayfish back in the day, when a physical therapist would order a crayfish but would return from theatre and not have much of an appetite,” he added.

The family matriarch, Carol, explained why the hospital held so much significance.

“Maryvale is not a workplace for us. It is an extension of our own close family,” she said.

“Barry and I feel blessed to have been able to share that with Rhys, Shona and Cassidy, and are so proud of what they have achieved.

“For many years, Maryvale has prided itself on being family-friendly, and we are delighted that we have been able to contribute to that culture.”

Family ties: Three generations of the Smith family now work at Maryvale Private Hospital. Pictured from left is Rhys Smith, his parents Carol and Barry, and daughter Cassidy. Photograph supplied