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Guard of honour for nurse of 47 years

Kaye Taplin was given a guard of honour on her way out of Wairarapa Hospital on Thursday after 47 years nursing. PHOTO/ELI HILL

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Nurses, doctors, staff and patients lined the halls of Wairarapa Hospital on Thursday to celebrate the 47 years nurse Kaye Taplin had spent in her job.

While she’d finished off her career as a Medical Surgical Ward enrolled nurse, Taplin had spent time in various departments – from district nurse to theatre nurse.

And in that time, she’d had many favourite memories.

“It’s the comradery with the staff that goes a long way and you make so many friends over many years of course.

“But most importantly is the patients and that’s my passion being at the bedside with the patient.”

In her time Taplin had “jollied the patients around a bit”.

“I’ve learnt a lot from people and quite a lot of stuff has been heart wrenching but at the same time we’ve had fun because I’m probably a bit of a prankster.

“I think they probably quite enjoy that. Sometimes they think ‘are you real?’ But it lifts their moods and that’s just who I am and it’s a vocation that’s very dear to my heart. I think I’ve done it with passion.”

Despite her 47 years in the job Taplin said she’d only started to think about giving it up six months ago.

“It’s time, just because it’s getting busier and busier and the whole body doesn’t do what it used to.

“I’m looking forward to not living my life by a diary and being able to plan holidays. Working in the medical surgical ward you have to plan holidays 12 months ahead and that’s actually quite a feat.”

Taplin also looked forward to visiting children, and grandchildren, and was planning a trip with her husband for some time next year.

“I’ll be in the garden, play bowls with my husband and have fun.”

Taplin said her “guard of honour” send-off had been “surreal”.

“The whole day’s been surreal really. I haven’t’ been allowed to take a patient, they haven’t trusted me with medication or anything.

“So, I’ve sort of been a butterfly really. I’ve sort of done food and socialised, had a lot of fun along the way, and told a few old stories.

“Then seeing my mother who’s 97, her being able to see her youngest child retire, I think she was probably blown away by that as well.”

Taplin would miss the job but said it was now time for herself, her husband, and her family.

“You nurse people from all walks of life and it’s been an honour.”

Charge nurse manager Susan Reeves said Taplin was a nurse with high standards.

“She has huge skills [from working] every area of the hospital over her 47 years. She expects other people to meet her high standards.

“She is very empathic when talking with relatives. People will be in a dire situation and her compassion, and knowledge and the wisdom that she imparts on them to cope with the situation makes me very proud.”


  1. Congratulations Kaye.
    I remember working with Kaye Dean/Taplin in Operating Theatre in the 1970s. Best wishes for a happy retirement.

  2. What a wonderful women, she nursed my mother 24 years ago, terrific as a nurse and as a person.
    All the best Kaye

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