One of Leicestershire’s most experienced nurses has retired after a 30-year career in healthcare without a single day off sick.
Last month, Tina Kirk retired from her role managing three short-break homes for people with learning disabilities at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust.
Throughout her career, the registered learning disabilities and mental health nurse, has provided care for hundreds of people with complex and challenging needs.
“I have a real passion for nursing and I like to keep busy”
Apart from 12 weeks’ maternity leave in 1990, she has an unbroken working record since starting nursing.
“I am genuinely never ill,” she said. “I have a real passion for nursing and I like to keep busy. I have never had a role I didn’t like.”
Jules Galbraith, head of learning disability and complex care services at the trust, described Ms Kirk as a “terrific role model”.
“She is a caring, compassionate nurse who at all times has maintained the utmost respect for her patients and staff alike,” she said.
Ms Kirk started out working as a care home assistant before taking the first step into nursing by applying for a job as a nursing assistant.
She went on to gain a first class nursing degree and served for a decade as a professional conduct committee panel member for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, sitting on hearings in Belfast, Cardiff, London and Edinburgh.
During her career, she played a key role in the shift from ward-based to community care, and managed a number of community homes for people with learning disabilities.
She helped develop a service for people with challenging behaviour and launched a practice development unit to establish new quality standards for learning disability residential services, which were accredited by De Montfort University
In 2008 Ms Kirk opened and managed the trust’s Agnes Unit, which provides inpatient care for adults with learning disabilities who also have complex, ongoing mental health problems.