A nurse from Minehead in Somerset has received a special recognition award for 50 years of caring for patients with mental ill health.
Sylvia Parson’s, a community psychiatric nurse at the Barnfield Unit at Minehead’s new community hospital, was last week presented with a bouquet of flowers and a crystal glass recognition award.
She started her career as a nurse cadet in February 1963 at the former Tone Vale Psychiatric Hospital.
After qualifying in 1968, she worked with older patients at Williton Community Hospital before joining the community mental health team at Minehead Hospital.
A qualified mental health counsellor, Ms Parson was also a founder member of the Family Therapy Team in Minehead.
She said: “As a young girl I was a member of the Red Cross and used to volunteer to help at Minehead Hospital. I saw a letter one day from the matron of Tone Vale Psychiatric Hospital saying that they were looking for people to come forward to train as nurses.
“I knew nothing about mental health but wanted to be a nurse and so I applied,” she added. “I am so glad I did as I enjoyed everything about the job and learnt so much about every aspect of the hospital and nursing care.
“Mental health care has changed beyond all recognition since those days but I still enjoy helping patients and their families and I feel the support I have from all my colleagues keeps me feeling young,” she said.
Paying tribute to Ms Parson, Linda Nash, chair of Somerset Partnership Foundation Trust, said: “During her five decades of nursing Sylvia has cared for some of the most vulnerable people in the community.
“Sylvia is a valued member of the community mental health team and combines her role as a therapist with that of her nursing role,” she said.
“She has seen many improvements in the treatment and therapies available to patients with mental ill health, but it is Sylvia’s special qualities of compassion and commitment to their care that patients and their families value most”.