Wayne Kroker, of Nundah, Queensland, is the Lutheran Nurse of the Year for 2021.
Wayne was one of two Queensland Lutheran nurses honoured by the Lutheran Nurses Association of Australia (LNAA) to mark International Nurses Day on 12 May. Shirley Klinge, of Laidley, Queensland, was honoured with Life Membership of LNAA.
The Lutheran Nurse of the Year award was launched last year to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing. It recognises faithful and outstanding service rendered by a registered or enrolled nurse who is an active member of a congregation of the LCANZ. It comprises a certificate and a monetary gift of $100.
Wayne is employed in the Thoracic Ward at Prince Charles Hospital at Chermside in suburban Brisbane. During the coronavirus pandemic, he has provided nursing care for the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients who came to his ward. During the height of the COVID lockdown, Wayne himself was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. After a short break for treatment, he returned to his nursing duties.
Wayne is an active member of the St Pauls Lutheran Church Nundah and has served there in various roles. He and his wife Misiel are live-in managers of St Pauls Lodge on the church campus, where accommodation units are rented at reduced rates to people in need. The most significant part of that role is the Christian care and ministry that Wayne and Misiel provide, regularly inviting residents into their home, involving them in their family life, and generally looking out for their wellbeing.
After completing four years of nursing training at Dalby General Hospital, in Queensland, Shirley moved with her husband to Mt Isa. She first worked at the Mt Isa Base Hospital, and then from 1978 to 1980 served as director of the St Paul’s Lutheran Child Care Centre.
Returning to Dalby, Shirley worked in ICU there for five years, then in 1983, she was appointed director of nursing at Tabeel at Laidley Lutheran aged care.
In 1998 Shirley completed an introduction to parish nursing course at the then Luther Seminary and was appointed part-time parish nurse at Redeemer Lutheran Church Laidley. She served in this role until last September. Shirley was appointed as pastoral care nurse at Faith Lutheran College, Plainland, and served there for 13 years. During her first years at Faith, she also served as the inaugural college chaplain. She came out of retirement last year to again serve as chaplain for several months.
Shirley also served for a short time as secretary of the LCA’s Queensland District. She is currently president of the Lutheran Women of Queensland’s West Moreton Zone.