Heart Foundation volunteer retires from 21 years of service

One of the Heart Foundation’s longest-serving volunteers was recently farewelled from a lifetime of dedication to people with heart disease in the Waikato.

Heart Foundation volunteer, Pauline, retires

After 21 years as a voluntary committee member for the Heart Foundation Waikato Branch, and 42 years of cardiac nursing at Waikato Hospital, Pauline Honey is well known for her tireless care and support of those with heart disease.

“It was the enthusiasm and commitment of the people on the Heart Foundation committee, the philosophy of the organisation, and the resources and support they give people with heart disease that inspired me to volunteer for all these years. Primary prevention was the big drive 21 years ago, and it still is,” says Pauline.

Lisa Mitchell, Heart Health Advocate for the Heart Foundation Waikato Branch says Pauline has been a vital link between the Waikato DHB cardiac unit and the Foundation.

“Her vast cardiac nursing experience has been invaluable to the committee in so many ways. She has been such a valued, consistent presence in the community and will be sorely missed,” says Lisa.  

Pauline had not planned on a cardiac nursing career. Forty two years ago she wanted to work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the “new” Waikato Hospital building. However, there were no vacancies, so she took a coronary care position while waiting for one to come up. She never made it to ICU.

“In coronary care the patients were conscious, so you nursed them but you also interacted. I just loved the nursing and caring for people, talking to them, and meeting their needs,” says Pauline.

“Even when I took on the cardiac rehab position 21 years ago, giving people knowledge to empower them to manage their condition was the big thing I enjoyed.”

With nearly 2,000 heart attack, unstable angina, angina, artery investigation or cardiac surgery patients presenting at Waikato Hospital every year, Pauline and four other cardiac rehab nurse specialists worked directly with more than 1,200 people annually. 

“I have been privileged to meet these people when they are so vulnerable, you walk beside them and help them in their recovery, and the Heart Foundation provide great resources to help with that,” she says.

Pauline says her recent retirement will mean more time with her grandchildren and large whānau, including her 16-week-old granddaughter, two grandsons in Australia and 86-year-old mum. There is also a cruise on the agenda next year with her husband.