About the Author
Denise Petersen (McCallum) was born in Jamestown in 1949, and lived in Caltowie, a small town near the grain belt of South Australia.
She now lives in Cairns with her husband and adult children. She still works happily at the Cairns Hospital.
As a child in the 1950’s Denise was asked many times “What would you like to be when you grow up?” Aunty Mavis, her mother’s sister, was a much-travelled nurse, who would chat extensively about her great adventures travelling overseas and her many stories of nursing experiences. Denise always answered she wanted to be “A Nurse Like Aunty Mavis”.
The family moved to Port Augusta. After a difficult time at school due to her dyslexia, Denise commenced nursing training at Port Augusta General Hospital in 1966.
This began her journey with nursing, from the fun days of training, where student nurses learned compassion and camaraderie, to the hard life of a nurse’s life. This led to Midwifery training, remote nursing out on the Nullarbor Plains of Australia, and patrol work and Midwifery in Papua New Guinea.
After 20 years in Papua New Guinea, Denise returned to Australia and settled in Cairns, Queensland with her family. She continued to expand her career at the Cairns Base Hospital, working up to a Level 2 position in Paediatric Units, higher duties in Nurse Management positions and finally settling as the Regional Case Manager for Children with Cancer.
Her story incorporates her many travels and experiences of living in Papua New Guinea, her family, and ocean sailing on the yacht, Vitiaz.