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'Goodbye to Work': Cromer nurse speaks of 50 years of service

Sue Mildenhall in 1967. Picture: Sue Mildenhall

Sue Mildenhall in 1967. Picture: Sue Mildenhall

Sue Mildenhall

Former Cromer nurse talks of her 50 years of working in hospitals, as she heads towards retirement.

Sue Mildenhall. Picture: Sara PonderSue Mildenhall. Picture: Sara Ponder

In the days before portable defibrillators, syringe drivers and computers, before hoists and disposable bed pans I began my nurse training in Bristol in 1967.

We nursed patients on Nightingale Wards, an open ward with the beds down each side of the ward, separated by curtains. Each ward had two single rooms and there were allocated barrier nursing cubicles, barrier nursing was very strict.

I enjoyed a varied experience as a student nurse working on surgical, medical, gynaecological, paediatric, orthopaedic and care of the elderly wards.

After qualifying I worked as a staff nurse on a male surgical ward and within the year obtained a sister’s post.

1974 saw a move to Norwich and I continued my career at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on St Stephen’s Road, Norwich. In 1983 I started working in respiratory nursing, working at the chest clinic at what was the West Norwich Hospital (now the Community Hospital). Working there was a joy, I learnt a lot and so began my career specialising in Asthma.

I was invited to be involved in audits and research and undertook my own audit of care of patients admitted to the N & N with exacerbation of asthma. This audit was completed in 1982 and revealed a need for an asthma nurse specialist at the N & N. I was offered the role for 12 hours per week and within a few months it became a full time post. The next step was developing a nurse-led asthma clinic. This was successful and took some of the pressure off the Consultants.

In 1999 I saw an advert for an asthma nurse at Cromer Surgery to cover six months maternity leave. I remained there until 2016, continuing to work on a part time basis for the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital until 2012.

In October 2016 I left Cromer and took a respiratory nurse post at Woodcock Road Surgery.

Now 2017, I have decided it is time to do something else. After 50 years in the NHS I have many fond memories of my nursing life, made lots of friends and feel very privileged to have the chance to work with so many caring professionals.

Sue Mildenhall

October 2017

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