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Source: Channel Islands – Jersey

Three senior nurses and a health care assistant have reflected on their time at the General Hospital and working through the COVID-19 pandemic, as they come to the end of nearly 40 years’ service each. 

  • Maternity Health Care Assistant, Linda Hammill has retired from her role on the Maternity Ward after 34 years
  • Dermatology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Diane Rolland is moving into a similar role in Primary Care at Indigo House after 39 years
  • Sister Patricia Pike will leave the Health Service after 47 years
  • Medical Staff Nurse Lynne Grieve is retiring after 30 years

Linda Hammill first joined Health and Community Services in 1980, where she started as a nurse at Overdale working with elderly patients. She subsequently moved onto the Maternity Ward where she has been based for 34 years and spoke of the positive changes she has seen to the service, including seeing the move from Le Bas Centre.  

Linda said: “It has been amazing to be part of the team on Maternity Ward and I’ve made some lifelong friends. We’ve seen lots of positive changes in the way families are supported throughout pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to fully enjoy my work and I will leave with many fond memories. Being there when somebody has their baby is a life changing experience and I feel truly honoured to have been a part of that process for so many new families. I would encourage young health care assistants to take up a career in maternity as it has truly been a valued experience.”

Speaking about her time on Maternity at Le Bas Center, Linda said: “The service was very different in those days, women stayed on the ward much longer whereas now it is encouraged that they return home with their babies. I also remember the gardens and we would grow fresh fruit and veg which were used by the chef on site.

“COVID-19 has made working in the hospital a challenge. Wearing PPE and implementing restrictions such as not allowing grandparents to see their new grandchildren was particularly difficult, but the team pulled together to make the ward as happy a place as we could.”

Linda plans to spend her retirement working with animals and becoming further involved in the Cat Action Trust where she already helps to locate and rehome lost cats while remaining as bank staff on the Maternity Ward.

Dermatology Clinical Nurse Specialist Diane Rolland is moving to Indigo Medical Practice after 39 years with Health and Community Services. 

Diane said: “As a young qualified nurse, I worked on the Male Surgical Ward before joining the Outpatient team as a Staff Nurse. After a few months, I realised I had a keen interest in Dermatology which has since led to a fulfilling 30-year career at the General Hospital. 

“I have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people within Dermatology, both through my work at the General Hospital and with the British Dermatology Nursing Group. I always strived to meet the high standards of practice I have witnessed and hope that I have made a difference to those with life-long skin conditions including those suffering with skin cancer.”

Speaking about the coronavirus pandemic, Diane added: “COVID-19 brought about many changes to our day to day work. Nurses across the hospital have had to adapt, often working in different departments as well as dealing with the discomfort of wearing PPE during long shifts. But the resilience and dedication shown by everyone in the hospital was inspiring and I was proud to have been part of those challenging moments.”

Senior Nurses, Patricia Pike and Lynne Grieve are to also retire this year after working in Health for almost eight decades between them. 

Sister Patricia Pike started working as a student nurse in 1975 after completing 18 months of training in Oxford. Her first job was a Staff Nurse on Aubin Ward which was an acute Male Medical Ward and Coronary Care Unit where she treated patients with strokes, heart attacks, and pneumonia. Since 2015, Patricia has been a Sister in Medical Day Care, a service which provides treatment for acute and chronic conditions and assists patients with their general wellbeing.

Patricia said: “I certainly did not imagine that I would be in nursing for 47 years when I started but I have enjoyed a long and happy career within healthcare. When I first came back to Jersey it remained common practice to sterilise equipment, I remember having to everything collect all used equipment and take it to the steriliser.

“It became tradition for staff who left the ward to be dunked in a bubbly bath and sometimes even baked beans! I’m glad that won’t be happening to me!”
 
Patricia’s retirement plans include spending time with her family, working on the Battle of Flowers and continuing singing with the Healthy Harmony Choir.

Senior Staff Nurse, Lynne Grieve originally worked as an Oncology Staff Nurse in the UK, while studying for her degree, dealing with the treatment and prevention of Cancer until 1988. She then moved to Jersey and practiced as a Medical Staff Nurse on Bartlett Ward, caring for patients with a variety of medical conditions.

Lynne said: “After moving to Jersey, I realised that I wanted to specialise in Dermatology and I was lucky to be able to join the department 17 years ago which has offered varied experience in caring for Dermatology patients.”

Her retirement plans include having more time for herself, caring for her family, and possibly doing some voluntary work.

Chief Nurse, Rose Naylor said: “I would like to thank those leaving Health and Community Service this year for their dedication and care to Islanders. I want to particularly thank them for their perseverance and adaptability during the pandemic. This year has been challenging in so many ways and the professional attitude staff have shown has been a real testament to their experience and wisdom which we will miss. I wish those leaving a happy and fulfilling retirement and success with the new experiences they will have.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom