After a 37-year-long career, a ward manager is preparing to hang up her uniform for the very last time.
Eleanor Ward is ward manager for Scotter Ward at John Coupland Hospital in Gainsborough, part of the Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS).
Her NHS career began in 1979 when she undertook her training at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
She longed to work in her home town of Gainsborough and, after several phone calls, landed an interview and successfully secured a staff nurse role on Ward Two at John Coupland Hospital in 1983, where she stayed for five years.
In May 1988, Eleanor made the move to Lincoln where she worked at St George’s Hospital on Cranwell Ward as a ward manager.
She stayed at St George’s until December 1990 when she made the move back to Gainsborough.
Reflecting on her career, Eleanor said: “I’ve enjoyed it. Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be a nurse and eventually a sister. I feel very lucky, fortunate and proud to have been able to do that.
“Looking back, I do think we have been really daring, I’ve been really daring.
“When we went nurse-led it was a first and a huge challenge. We took a model from a London community trust and replicated it. It wasn’t well-supported initially but we worked extremely hard to make it work.”
Eleanor is Gainsborough born and bred and has worked on Scotter ward for 32 years.
“I can’t believe all the things we have developed and implemented here on Scotter Ward,” she added.
“For example, we were the first in-patient ward to have Systmone back in 2006.
“We have always tried to be innovative and network by being proactive and engage with people. We have been part of pilot schemes and have tried to lead the way.
“I firmly believe Scotter Ward is the jewel in the crown of John Coupland Hospital.”
For Eleanor, nursing is more than just a job.
“It really is a vocation,” she said.
“It’s not about the money, it’s about giving good quality services for people and staff.”
Donna Phillips Clinical Educator for LCHS has worked with Eleanor for 16 years, she said: “Eleanor has always believed in her staff and allowed them to flourish and develop.
“I really believe it is because of Eleanor that I have blossomed into not only the nurse but the person I am today.”
Eleanor’s husband is also retiring after taking voluntary redundancy from Tata Steel where he has worked for the last 39 years.
The couple plan to relax together, holidaying in the caravan and spending time with family.
“My husband has always supported me in my career and I’m really looking forward to spending quality time together,” added Eleanor.
Eleanor’s last working day will be Friday, June 17.
She has plans to de-clutter her attic, spend time in her garden and continue playing her beloved saxophone.