Nurse recognised for service on Rottnest Island

Two men and a woman stand in front of a wall with two plaques attached. The woman's had is on a plaque that reads 'In reocgnition of the commitment and dedication shown to those in need by Registered Nurse Fay Sullivan at the Rottnest Island Nursing Post and after who Fay's Bay is named'
Rottnest Island Authority Acting Director Environment, Heritage and Parks, Shane Kearny, pioneer nurse Fay Sullivan and SMHS Chief Executive Paul Forden with the newly unveiled commemorative plaque at the Rottnest Island Nursing Post.
March 6, 2019

Pioneer nurse Fay Sullivan, has been recognised by South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) and the Rottnest Island Authority for her work in establishing the Rottnest Island Nursing Post.

Fay, after whom Fay’s Bay is named, was the first documented registered nurse posted to Rottnest Island when the nursing station opened in 1960. She worked alone for most of the year, except in the busy Christmas period when a doctor would accompany her.

In her 12 years working on the island, Fay was known to go above and beyond her duties with the aid of telephone support from mainland clinicians, the local community and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, always striving to provide a high standard of care.

Fay describes her time on the island as rewarding and varied – treating locals, tourists and at times horses!

“My role was diverse as the island’s only community's health practitioner, infant and child health nurse, acute care nurse. I also provided social services and support to those in need,” Fay said.

“I was always up for the challenge particularly with complex diagnostics, I had to hone my skills and become a ‘jack of all trades’.”

SMHS Chief Executive Paul Forden said it was important for Fay’s contribution to be recognised.  

“This is a terrific opportunity for us to acknowledge Fay as a true pioneer on the island,” Paul said.

“During her tenure she showed immense commitment and dedication to those in need by providing a valuable service to thousands of tourists and residents and truly embodying the SMHS vision of excellent health care, every time.”

Rottnest Island Authority Acting Director Environment, Heritage and Parks, Shane Kearny, acknowledged Fay’s legacy and the impact of her contribution to the island.

“Fay was instrumental in building the social fabric of the Island. Not only did she make an outstanding contribution to nursing, but as an avid tree planter her work paved the way for the island’s current conservation program,” Shane said.

Fay was honoured to be recognised for her service.

“I can’t believe all the fuss. It really is very special to be recognised for my time on the island. Spending 25 years at Rottnest and meeting my husband while there, it truly is very dear to my heart,” Fay said.

Fay’s work has been commemorated with a plaque unveiled at a ceremony outside the Rottnest Island Nursing Post.

The Rottnest Island Nursing Post is part of the Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group and is part of SMHS. The nursing post now has four staff and sees about 3500 patients a year.

Follow South Metropolitan Health Service on Facebook (external site) and keep up to date with all the latest news at Fiona Stanley Hospital.