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District nurse celebrates half a century in nursing

Friday, 24 July, 2020
District nurse celebrates half a century in nursing

A North Tyneside district nurse is celebrating a Golden anniversary this month after devoting 50 years to nursing.

Ann Jones, clinical manager for community nursing at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, is celebrating her achievement with a socially-distanced tea party with colleagues.


Ann said: “I didn’t think for one minute I would be celebrating 50 years as a nurse in the middle of a pandemic.


“I’m in absolute awe of my teams and all the other healthcare staff who have worked on the frontline during these unprecedented times.


“They, and the multitude of key workers and volunteers who have played such an essential role during the pandemic, deserve the highest praise.”


Ann joined Northumbria Healthcare in 2004 as a bank nurse, and in 2010 moved to the out-of-hours nursing team in North Tyneside as a district nurse.


In 2013 she became locality lead for the service and in 2018 she was appointed to the post of clinical manager for community nursing across Northumberland and North Tyneside.


Ann said: “I have worked with some amazing nurses over the years and I have always loved community nursing.


“It is a great privilege to be invited into a patient’s home and to get to know them and their families. You can become very involved with the family unit, especially when you are looking after patients at the end of life.


“It is extremely rewarding to be able to care for people in their own home.”


Ann’s dedication to nursing was recognised in 2008 when she was awarded the title of Queens Nurse.  The following year she was chosen by the Queens Nursing Institute to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate 150 years since district nursing began.


Ann said: “I was very fortunate and extremely proud to be chosen. I attended the garden party accompanied by a great friend and colleague who had been my mentor and inspiration throughout my time in the community in Newcastle.”


Ann’s nursing career began in 1970 when she started work as a Nursery Nurse on the Maternity Unit at Newcastle General Hospital.


She went on to work as an auxiliary nurse caring for elderly patients at Ponteland Hospital and then trained as a State Enrolled Nurse (SEN) at Newcastle General Hospital School of Nursing.


In 1985 she secured a much longed-for post in community nursing. Ann said: “I had done a short community placement as part of my nurse training and I absolutely loved it.”


On completing her District Enrolled Nurse Training in 1986 she worked in the west end of Newcastle for many years.


Ann said: “It was very different back then. Initially a lot of the work I did was around personal care, getting patients washed and dressed. It was very rare to nurse anyone at home at the end of their life, invariably they went into a hospital. We did some wound care but not on the scale we do now.


“Now patients are more complex and there is a lot more critical thinking and analysis needed in relation to the care we are providing.


“There wasn’t the technology either. We didn’t have phones or bleepers, if we needed to ring someone we had to go and find a telephone box.”


After qualifying as a Registered General Nurse in 1993 she became one of the first community staff Nurses.


In 2002 she gained a degree in Specialist Practitioner District Nursing and in 2006 she was seconded to the Royal Victoria Infirmary to work collaboratively with a respiratory consultant and a respiratory nurse specialist to set up an early supported discharge service for patients with COPD, which later expanded to include admission prevention and oxygen therapy services. While co-leading the service Ann completed the Advanced Clinical Skills and Independent Prescribing courses and became one of the first two Community Matrons in Newcastle.


She said: “I started nursing informally from a very young age, caring for my mother and grandmother who were both chronically ill for many years. This undoubtedly paved the way for what would become a long and rewarding career.”