Three senior nurses at Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group have racked up 110 years’ experience of working for the NHS between them.
Janet Winter, the CCG’s head of clinical quality for acute contracts, is the longest serving with 41 years’ service.
She became a student nurse in 1974 at the Derby School of Nursing at the former Derby Royal Infirmary site in London Road.
“I spent many hours in a back room sterilising equipment and polishing bedpans”
She worked across a variety of specialisms, rising through the ranks as staff nurse, community nurse, district nurse sister, primary care nurse co-ordinator.
She then worked as clinical governance manager for a primary care trust before joining the clinical commissioning group when it was set up in 2013.
Ms Winter said: “When I first started as an 18-year-old student nurse it was very different and I spent many hours in a back room sterilising equipment and polishing bedpans.
“People in caring professions have a higher profile these days with much better opportunities for training and education,” she said. “There’s a lot more individual accountability and decision-making involved now, which is a good thing for the nurses and the patients.”
Meanwhile, Lynn Woods, the CCG’s chief nurse and director of quality, has clocked up 37 years and Karen McGowan, deputy chief nurse and deputy director of quality, has 32 years.
Ms Woods began her work life as a 17-year-old live-in trainee nurse at the Nottingham School of Nursing, going on to be a registered nurse, staff midwife, midwifery sister and health visitor.
“I was about 12 years old… when I first knew I wanted to be a nurse”
She went into management roles at various hospitals and at Derbyshire County PCT before joining the CCG in her current role.
She said: “It was overwhelming as a teenager to be dealing with death and dying patients and caring for seriously ill patients who’d had major surgeries.
“I’d be working on ‘Nightingale’ wards, with long rows of beds down either side of the room where there was very little patient privacy, if at all,” she said. “But there was a real sense of community.”
“The best thing about working for the CCG now is that we can really respond to patients’ experiences to improve care,” she added.
Ms McGowan, who joined the CCG in January, qualified as a general nurse in Birmingham in the 1980s and worked as a night sister, emergency nurse practitioner in community hospitals and minor injury units.
She said: “I was about 12 years old and visiting my grandfather in Dudley Road Hospital when I first knew I wanted to be a nurse.
“I was fascinated by the way each nurse was doing something slightly different with no obvious, visual plan and yet the ward worked together as a whole,” she said. “I wanted a career where I could help people – that hasn’t changed.”
Presentations of long service certificates have recently been made to all three, along with a range of other CCG staff.