Hospitals and care homes across the country celebrated International Nurses Day on 12th May but it is not just practicing nurses who joined in, but former nurses, too.
Gibraltar Nursing Home in Monmouth are delighted to have a retired SRN nurse living with them. Barbara Jones (nee Morgan) is 86-years-old and started her training to be a nurse in 1951 when she was just eighteen. She worked at the Royal Gwent hospital in 1952 before becoming a district nurse in the early 1960s, based at the Caer Mawr Road Surgery in Caldicot.
She was a nurse for 40 years until illness meant she had to retire in 1989. Her daughter, Ruth Bishop, said she was much loved by her colleagues and patients, many of whom still fondly remember her.
In 2016 Barbara moved to Gibraltar Nursing Home in Monmouth and immediately she felt the difference between a home from yesteryear and to the home of today. Gone were the days of an institution, and in came no uniforms, no set mealtimes, no lights out by ten, and fine décor as you would expect when walking into anyone’s home. You felt safe, comfortable and a sense of belonging as you walked around. The care is always person-centred and previous life histories are celebrated and the home puts choice and remaining independent for as long as possible at the forefront of everything.
When asked if this was very different to the type of care offered when she started nursing, Barbara nodded her agreement. The methods are certainly much better, now and it was a lot stricter when she started but she always tried to nurse with kindness.
There have been some huge advances in medicine since Barbara started her training. The amount of time spent in hospital recovering after operations has reduced hugely and diseases such as smallpox and polio have now disappeared in the UK. Barbara says the Care Team at the nursing home are excellent. High praise indeed, coming from somebody that knows more than most about health care.
The 12th May was chosen to celebrate Nurses Day as it is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth, so perfect for celebrating the role of nurses everywhere. Most people agree that it’s a beautiful thing when a career and passion can come together. Claire Knight, Clinical Lead at Gibraltar Nursing Home, agrees. She said: “International Nurses Day presented us with the perfect opportunity to say thank you to Barbara because she dedicated her life to caring for others and as carers and nurses ourselves, we really wanted to help her celebrate.