Farewelling nurse chief

MET with smiles and hugs from her Auburn Hospital family, Riki Richards (pictured) received a heartfelt farewell from the hospital’s community as they celebrated the warmth, empathy and dedication that she’s offered across nearly three decades as Surgical Ward Nurse Unit Manager (NUM).

Riki began her career at Auburn Hospital in the 1990s as a new graduate nurse before being offered the position of NUM, a role which gave her the opportunity to have a profound impact on the diverse community of western Sydney.
“I became a NUM to make changes and support changes,” she said.
“I was fascinated with where you can go and what you can do. I came to work feeling like it was the most wonderful thing to go to work every day, you must love your job as a nurse to be a good nurse.”
While she is recognised for her vibrant pink hair and wide smile, Riki was admired throughout the district and wider community due to her advocacy for better standards and engagement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of western Sydney.
She was a leader in the movement to improve standards for the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Auburn, and her passion so great for the field of nursing and sensitivity to the diverse Auburn community, she became a founding member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing and Midwifery Forum.
One of her proudest achievements is the Spiritual Healing Garden, sitting at the heart of Auburn Hospital; it has traditional ties to Aboriginal culture and was designed to be welcoming to all communities.