A nurse who has served her local community for 45 years – including playing an important part in developing Kettering General Hospital’s endoscopy service - has retired.
On her last day at work, on December 31, Endoscopy Unit Staff Nurse Wendy Harrison was given a good send off by her colleagues where she received cards and presents.
Wendy was the first nurse in charge of the hospital’s Endoscopy Unit when it opened in 1993.
She has worked there ever since as part of a team supporting more than 250,000 patients who have been through its doors over the last 27 years.
She said: “I think my biggest achievement has been the work I have done in endoscopy.
“We set up our first dedicated endoscopy room in 1993 and I was the first team leader when it was opened by the Secretary of State Virginia Bottomley.
“I became Sister in 1998 and retired in 2010 – but came back to work as a staff nurse where I have continued to serve our patients for the last ten years.
“There have been some massive changes over that period. We have moved from one procedures room up to five with several upgrades and a major refurbishment and expansion in 2018.
“We provide a gold standard service for thousands of patients each year and we are a very close knit and friendly team who always go the extra mile for our patients.
“While our equipment has become better-and-better over that time period there is still a real need for the human touch of chatting with patients, explaining to them what will happen, and making sure they are reassured and calm.”
Endoscopy Services Manager Tina Brooks said: “Wendy originally set up the department in 1993 when the service moved from a number of different wards and locations to a dedicated room in the same place where the department is situated now.
“She has been the heart and soul and foundation of the Endoscopy Unit and her nursing style has left a very long and deep legacy that all of our patients benefit from. She will be very greatly missed.”
KGH’s Director of Nursing and Quality, Leanne Hackshall, said: “I want to add my personal thanks to Wendy for her very significant contribution to the hospital and for the excellent patient care she has delivered over so many years.”
Wendy, 65, who lives in Irchester with her husband Keith, said: “I have loved being a nurse, and loved constantly learning and updating my skills. I plan to continue to do some voluntary work in my local community and I enjoy walking and playing the piano.
“I will really miss all my friends and colleagues and the job itself.”
Wendy’s career started after she trained to become a state enrolled nurse in 1973 in Epping before qualifying in 1975 and starting work in the rehabilitation unit at Isebrook Hospital, Wellingborough.
Then she worked at the TB sanatorium at Rushden Hospital before moving to the main KGH site in 1979.
In the 1990s she was one of the first state enrolled nurses to convert up to the higher qualified role of registered general nurse in 1993.
She has also supported staff as the Royal College of Nursing representative for health and safety since 2012.