Nurse celebrates 50 years at West Suffolk Hospital
- Credit: West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
A nurse has celebrated 50 years in nursing at the hospital she joined as a student nurse.
Linda Potts, first moved to Bury St Edmunds in 1971 as she embarked on her new role as a student nurse at West Suffolk Hospital, and marked her 50 years of service on her regular night shift at the King Suit, Glastonbury Court, on Monday, May 17.
Bury St Edmunds resident Mrs Potts, moved to the town to start her registered general nurse training at the hospital after a two-year college pre-nursing course.
"I only did that because at a school careers event my best friend put her hand up when they got to nursing so I did too – looking back it was providence and I made the right choice," Mrs Potts, said.
Her varied posts at the West Suffolk Hospital included staff nurse in recovery; a stint on F2 which was then ear, nose, throat and eyes; day and emergency ward; sister on surgical ward F5; night sister and clinical duty manager.
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Mrs Potts also worked at Newmarket Community Hospital for a year.
She now works 23 hours a week on night duty as a staff nurse on the King Suite, but during the pandemic has been covering shifts, doing an extra 90 hours in March 2021.
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Looking back to the start of her career, the mother of two and grandmother to three said: “After eight weeks of study at the hospital, we students were let loose on the wards and that’s where we stayed. We had a booklet where competencies were signed off as we went along, and by the third year would be in charge of a ward at night.”
Uniforms were dresses only, with caps and a belt complete with silver buckle once qualified. “I still have my belt with its buckle,” said Linda. “Like a lot of people my parents bought it for me when I qualified, it was a statement.”
Being part of five decades of medical progress had been very interesting, she said: “It’s amazing how much more we can do for people.
"After a hip fracture, patients would stay in hospital for six weeks in traction – now they can be discharged in days.
"Chemotherapy and radiotherapy have made such a difference, it has been good to be a part of it all. I am proud I have done 50 years.”