CRITICAL care nurse Joan Patterson deserves a break.
For 36 years she has treated sick youngsters at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, helping to save countless lives and make very poorly children more comfortable in moments of crisis.
After nearly four decades on the very frontline of the NHS - including 27 years at the hospital’s intensive care unit - the 53-year-old from Shirecliffe is finally stepping down to enjoy a well-deserved retirement.
“I’ve really enjoyed the job,” she said.
“People often think intensive care is about dying but it’s about hope and getting better.
“Families come in very upset but we work hard to bring them out of their despondency and help their children get better.”
She added: “There have been lots of children I remember. It’s lovely to see some of those I’ve cared for well and living healthy lives. There were of course some who didn’t live and that was always very sad.”
When Joan started out at the hospital as a 17-year-old trainee there were just four beds and 15 nurses on the unit - now there are 19 beds and 115 nurses.
She said: “I’ve seen so many changes over the years.
“Intensive care used to be a four-bed unit divided by a book case and on the other side was recovery.
“You could stand in the middle and reach every patient.”
Although sad to leave the hospital - which she said has become ‘her family’ - Joan said it was time to embrace a new chapter in her life.
Scores of colleagues turned out to wish her well at a grand send-off and now she plans to keep fit, take up gardening, and go travelling, starting with a three week Caribbean holiday - with her 100-year-old grandmother.