Spreading joy in challenging times

31-03-2021

After 25 years’ of service, this month The Wesley farewelled cardiac Registered Nurse, Lois Schmidt.

Lois is a familiar face around The Wesley, but in her final year of work it was her incredible handmade quilts that became the talk of the town.

Motivated by a desire to bring some calm to patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lois began sharing her passion for sewing quilts by displaying her collection throughout 2020.Lois Schmidt

“When the pandemic began, I noticed people started to become more and more anxious with all of the uncertainty, and I wanted to do something that would be lovely for people,” Lois said.

“Over the years, I’ve often brought in Christmas quilts and others from time-to-time to show my colleagues. But in April 2020, I decided I would start bringing in a new quilt every few weeks to ensure there would always be something new for people to see.

“Quilts are such a joy to look at, and making them over the years has been so enjoyable for me, I wanted to share that,” Lois said.

Before long, word began to spread and soon staff and patients started to eagerly await the next quilt.

“It’s something that has snowballed and it’s become a lot more than what I thought at the start. For many, the quilts have been a conversation starter, and some families and patients from other areas of the hospital come here just to see them.”

“I’ve received some lovely feedback and have even inspired some new budding quilters!”

Lois started her nursing career in the 1970s and completed her training in Cairns. In the years that followed, she gained experience across the country in many different places from Melbourne to Mt Isa, before coming to Brisbane to join The Wesley and study Clinical Nursing.

“Nursing has evolved so much since I did my training. When I started, tuberculosis was rampant and we still wore veils as part of the uniform. Today, many people still don’t know exactly what nurses do, because it encompasses everything, from resuscitation to getting a patient a cup of tea,” Lois said.

Although bittersweet, Lois is looking forward to continuing her many other passions in retirement.

“I will miss the people and friendships the most. I have been in a great team which fosters a loving environment and we all share the same goal. It’s hard work and yet we keep coming back day after day,” she said.

“When I have needed care myself, I would never go anywhere else. I have always felt safe here at The Wesley. It’s been my second home, so for that reason it will be bittersweet.

“But I’m looking forward to retirement and to volunteering my time to support the labour party and Drug Arm, and to enjoying time in the garden and with my family.”