Ward manager set to retire after her 37 year career in the NHS

Eleanor Ward
Eleanor Ward

After a 37 year long career a ward manager is preparing to hang up her uniform for the very last time.

Eleanor Ward, 55, has worked on Scotter Ward at John Coupland Hospital in Gainsborough as Ward Manager since December 1990.

Prior to this she spent two years as Ward Manager on Cranwell Ward at St George’s Hospital. She moved there after five years as a Staff Nurse on Scotter Ward.

Her first post was on Scotter Ward in January 1983 as a Staff Nurse after completing her Nurse Training at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

Eleanor said: “As a Staff Nurse on Scotter Ward I had loved every minute of the job.

“But I wanted to be a Sister. This had always been my ultimate goal.

“To be in charge of the care that patients received, to have things done my way was what I had always yearned for.”

Eleanor says the challenges in her role is getting the balance right between giving hands on care to patients and getting the managerial parts of the role completed in a timely fashion.

She said: “I believe that it is crucially important to know the patients, what’s wrong with them, what the treatment plan is, what the discharge plan is, if there are any medical issues causing concern, how the patient is feeling and whether they have any worries that may be impacting on their progress.

“It is important to know the family or close friends so that they trust your judgement and the care their loved ones are receiving and that they feel they can speak to you should there be a problem or concern.

“Staff are my most valuable asset so it is imperative that they feel valued.

“Ensuring that they know what is expected of them, treating them fairly and helping them to develop their career is all part of the job.

“Sometimes it is necessary to reprimand staff if they are not delivering the desired standard of care.

“So long as this is done privately, fairly and consistently there aren’t any issues.”

Eleanor wanted to be nurse from a very young age.

She said: “I don’t know how I knew what a nurse was but that was solidly embedded in my psyche.

“I learnt that the most influential role for the quality of care that a patient receives is that of the Ward Sister. She or he is pivotal.

“That is why I have not strived for a higher post as patient care to me is paramount.”

Eleanor says her biggest achievement was becoming ward manager of Scotter Ward.

She said: “I have always regarded Scotter Ward as the jewel in the crown at John Coupland Hospital.

“The Trust is much larger now, countywide and greater as we have a walk in centre at Peterborough instead of hospital wide so we are now considered as a small fish in a big pond.”

Eleanor is married to Nigel and they have two children, Elaine, 33, and James, 23, and one grandson, Tyler, seven.

Eleanor’s hobbies include reading, walking, caravanning, travelling, knitting, crocheting, sewing, lace making and photography.

She said: “I am looking forward to picking up on these hobbies in retirement.

“I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and friends and travelling widely.

“I do also need to spend time getting my house and garden in order as they are a little neglected at present.”

As she heads towards retirement Eleanor says she has achieved everything she had set out to do.

Eleanor said: “My ambitions have been realised, there is nothing more in life that I am striving to achieve.

“I have been very fortunate in my life and I couldn’t have wished for more.

“I have always tried to treat people as I would wish to be treated.

“I have always given nursing care to a standard that I would be happy for my Mum or Dad to receive.”