Bendigo Community Health Services is home to more than 50 services and 250 staff. Take a journey through our organisation to learn more about our services and programs by meeting some of our wonderful staff through our blog Discovering BCHS…

LYNNE Murphy has spent decades shining a light on family planning and sexual health issues in Bendigo – and she couldn’t imagine her life panning out any other way.

“I always wanted to be a nurse, even as a little child,” she says, flashing the comforting smile that has reassured the countless clients who have passed through her clinic during her 35 years at Bendigo Community Health Services.

“I had a nurse’s cape and stethoscope from when I was about five years old!”

Lynne works three days a week as a community health nurse at Eaglehawk, providing pap smears, family planning and sexual health guidance, HIV counselling, women’s health advice and a caring shoulder to lean on for all who seek her services.

“I love the people,” she says of her calling, “and if I can make a difference in their lives in some little way, then that’s really special to me.

“In a couple of families here, I have been introduced me to their fifth generation. It’s wonderful that they think enough of me to come in and say g’day - they also know they can come to me any time I am here and I will make time for them.”

Lynne was born and bred locally and trained at the Northern District School of Nursing and Bendigo Base Hospital.

She joined BCHS after the birth of one of her four children and soon completed further training in the areas she was passionate about: family planning and sexual health.

There’s no such thing as a typical day in her clinic, where she can be called upon to discuss menopause issues, talk about breast examination, offer contraceptive options or treatments for a range of sexually transmitted diseases and blood-borne viruses.

She nominates the drug ice as one of the biggest scourges facing the local community, and deals with its after-effects even though she is not on the front line in that field.

“Ice is widespread in Bendigo and it has an impact on many different aspects of family life. I don’t know how to address it but support for people who are affected by it – not just those who use it – is important.

“It can result in family violence situations and sometimes that comes out in an interview with someone who has just popped in for a pap smear, and you start to unpack how things are going at home and if there are any other issues.

“Sometimes that just opens a can of worms and at the bottom of it all will be ice. It’s sad.”

“Unemployment is another issue that can lead to family violence and I see those two things as having increased over the years.

“But people need to know there is always a door open here and they can come in and what they say in this room stays in this room, unless of course it is going to pose a threat to them.

“That’s something we pride ourselves on.”

There is, however, much more to Lynne than just her nursing career and the time will come for her to put her well-worn “cape and stethoscope” away permanently.

“Retirement is very inviting,” she says. “I am 67 years old and I’d like to think it is in the foreseeable future.”

With 13 grandchildren, an interest in gardening and cross-stitch and the Woodbury lawn bowls club awaiting her, there’s plenty to keep her active away from the clinic.

High on her priority list is more time on the bowling green.

She is a four-time club champion, won the women’s pairs titles on several occasions and more recently was part of the club’s champion mixed pairs combination.

Lynne says working in women’s and sexual health and family planning has been a fulfilling career and she’s proud to have spent so long working in community health.

“A lot of people don’t like to talk about things below the navel,” she grins, “but it has been very interesting and very rewarding and some special friendships have developed through it.

“Knowing people trust you enough to come to you with intimate issues is very pleasing.”

 FOOTNOTE: Lynne retired from her role at BCHS in 2016. We miss you Lynne!