Nurses play a key role in the NHS. However 40 years ago the role was significantly different to what it is now.
Nurses back then wore starched aprons with cotton cap. They worked in an environment where patients who came into hospital would usually stay for a long time.
Eileen Dean, 60, from Dagenham who works at King George Hospital, put on her NHS uniform for the first time on 6 January 1976.
She said: “Throughout my career I have noticed an increase in the amount of learning available to nurses. Very few nurses were office based 40 years ago. However today we have various roles that include some nurses being able to prescribe drugs.
“I am amazed by the technology now that has changed the way nurses deliver care. I can’t imagine what it will be like in 10 years’ time!
“Patients who come in for a gall bladder operation now go home within 24 hours after keyhole surgery. Previously they would be kept in hospital for at least 10 days.”
Blessings Sitauze, of Canning Town, who works alongside Eileen, is a newly qualified nurse. She has been with us for a year.
She said: “Both my parents are nurses, I guess being a nurse is in my blood. I love looking after people I am the eldest out of six so have always cared for my brothers and sisters. I certainly would describe myself as having a big heart!
“I can’t quite believe what nursing would have been like 40 years ago. But what I will say is that it has been so refreshing to work with Eileen.
“I love her commitment and enthusiasm for the job. She has certainly helped build my confidence on the ward.
“She has taught me that you can’t rely on modern equipment to do it all for you. You still have to interpret what you see from your patient.
We’ll be celebrating the invaluable role that nurses play on International Nurses’ Day, Saturday 12 May.
Kathryn Halford, Chief Nurse said;
“I would like to thank all of our nurses for their hard work and dedication to their patients.
“They are at the frontline of the care we deliver to hundreds of people every day and we know how much our patients value them thanks to the great feedback we receive.”
Pictured are Eileen and Blessings