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Allied Health Assistant set to retire after 37 years at Peninsula Health

Heather Trinca will retire later this month after spending almost four decades of her life working at Peninsula Health.

Over this time she has seen the organisation change from a small country hospital to the large metropolitan health service that it is today.

One of her first roles was working at the Rosebud Day Hospital.

“I had only been in Australia after moving from New Zealand for a few years, when a friend encouraged me to apply for the job,” recalls Heather.

“The job was an Occupational Therapy (OT) Assistant, helping patients do arts and crafts.”

“I was an office secretary up until then so I had no qualifications in the space but I thought I like crafts so I’ll go for it.”

“The OT would pick an activity, such as basket weaving or knitting or woodwork for the men, and I’d help them do it.”

This was the start of Heather’s allied health career.

Heather now works in Peninsula Health’s Transition Care Program at Regis Aged Care, where she works with all allied health professions.

“It’s not just OT I work with anymore – I work across all fields including physio and dietetics.”

The highlight of her role is seeing patients improve over the course of the program.

“I get pleasure out of being able to help get someone home who was told they wouldn’t be able to,” says Heather.  

“We work really hard with patients in Transition Care and give them the last opportunity to go home, rather than into aged care.”

“For example we worked intensely with a patient who’d had a stroke and everyone thought we were crazy, but when we did get them home it was just amazing. I love that side of it.”

Heather is looking forward to doing more knitting, gardening, reading, walking the dog and of course spending time with her husband who has already retired, when her time at Peninsula Health comes to a close.

“I’ve been on a new scheme called transition to retirement, where you work two days and use your long service leave to pay for three days, since January.”

“When I worked at Rosebud I used to joke we should work two days and get paid for five and now I’m actually doing it,” laughs Heather.

Although looking forward to the future, Heather will miss the people and the organisation that has played such a big role in her life.

“I will miss it and I’ll miss the staff. The team here is amazing and it has always been just a pleasure going to work.”

Jessica Mills
JMills@phcn.vic.gov.au