Lesley McDowell

Lesley McDowell at a computer

Nurse Unit Manager, Outpatient Department

Sydney Sydney Eye Hospital 

“As a Nurse Unit Manager, what don’t I do? It’s a very, very busy role - you’re everybody’s go to person. It's made easier by a great team of nurses who really support me.

I'll never forget one particular patient - an Indonesian man, who had vision problems all his life. He was a regular patient of ours. He had lost the sight in one eye and while his vision wasn’t great, it was enough to read and work. We fixed a cataract in his good eye and he had the best vision he’d had for a long time. He was so excited, he could finally see the forms to apply for Australian citizenship. He walked in one day and said: ‘Miss Lesley, Miss Lesley, I’m Australian, like you.’ He was so proud.

Then one night an ambulance arrived in emergency and there he was - covered in blood. He was in his flat and a guy broke-in and beat him up – kneeing him in his good eye. He was sitting in a wheelchair, covered in blood, crying. The doctor and I also just stood there crying. It was so sad. To cut a long story short, with multiple surgeries and many visits we got his eye back to near normal vision. I get a Christmas card every year and every time he sees me, he hugs me and says he'll never forget me. He’s the most thankful, pleasant, deserving man, he reminds me why I come to work every day. ”