Pandemic can't stop St Stephen's celebrating graduations


Doctor Paul Du Toit, Elizabeth Harris, Chloe Williams and Allied Health Manager Dan Richards at the mock graduation ceremony held at St Stephen's Hospital, Hervey Bay.

Image and story courtesy Fraser Coast Chronicle


UNIVERSITY graduation ceremonies were added to the casualty list of cancelled events caused by the pandemic, but it did not stop St Stephen's Hospital from celebrating the graduation of two health professionals.

A mock graduation ceremony was held at the Hervey Bay hospital on Friday to acknowledge Physiotherapist Chloe Williams and Occupational Therapist Elizabeth Harris.

After their graduation ceremonies had been cancelled, Allied Health Manager Dan Richards organised a ceremony for the new staff members to acknowledge their achievements.

Chloe and Elizabeth have been working at St Stephen's since February and Dan believed it was a great way to welcome them to the team.

"We wanted to recognise their hard work and achievements in graduating and let them know they are part of the St Stephen's family," he said.

Staff rallied to the cause, with mortar boards sourced and graduation gowns sewn by Bea Wallace along with parchments acknowledging their achievements.

Doctor Paul du Toit presented flowers to both mock graduation recipients.

"It was a very positive experience for the staff and the hospital," Doctor du Toit said.

"Having a positive hospital work environment creates better results for the patient," he said.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Chloe and Elizabeth were escorted around the hospital with graduation music playing as patients and other staff clapped them on.

"It was nice experience and a great way to be welcomed into the team," Chloe said.

Elizabeth agreed with Chloe and it created some excitement around the hospital.

"It's an awesome place to work and they made us feel special like a real graduation," she said.

Both were disappointed that their proper graduations were cancelled but will remember their St Stephen's graduation fondly.

Chloe and Elizabeth wanted to thank the St Stephen's team for their effort even though they felt a little embarrassed.

Both believe that it could become a St Stephen's tradition and a way to acknowledge all new graduates to the hospital.

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