'Now they want someone with a computer': Old-style Norwich nurse retires after 50 years
PUBLISHED: 12:56 30 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:14 31 December 2018
Angela Longstaff almost missed out on becoming a nurse.
But one hospital gave her a chance – an opportunity which led to a fulfilling 50-year career with the NHS.
The 67-year-old from Norwich retired on Friday after decades in the medical profession, saying she thought it was time to move aside for a new generation of nurses.
“There comes a point where you have to retire – I can’t work until I’m 90!” she said.
“My nursing is bedside nursing and spending time with the patient. That was the old style – now they want someone who is good with a computer.”
Mrs Longstaff’s career in nursing began aged 17, when she applied for a job at the Middlesbrough General Hospital in Teesside, where she grew up.
“I had no qualifications. I had to go for an exam, I failed it, but they said they would give me a try – and I have been a nurse ever since,” she said.
After moving to Norfolk she completed a conversion course at the University of East Anglia in 1996 to become a staff nurse, which led to a job at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital at its old home on St Stephens Road, where she worked on wards five and seven.
During her time she said she “made an impression” – including one Christmas morning when she toured the wards dressed in Norwich City football kit to “cheer up” the patients.
Following a stint at the West Norwich Hospital she returned to the Norfolk and Norwich after it had moved to what is now the Norwich Research Park – but dissatisfaction soon drove her to new pastures in community nursing.
Mrs Longstaff said those years were the best of her long career. She worked with three of the city’s four community nursing teams, most recently covering Thorpe, Catton and Sprowston.
She said: “For years we had continuity. I learned all my patients and their ways and that was really important to me. With one-to-one care patients become your friends and that is priceless.
“The feedback I’ve had from patients has been amazing, and I have been to my patients’ weddings, birthday parties and funerals. They are like a family to me because I care about them.”
She plans to spend her retirement doing more of what she loves – including cruise ship holidays – and plans to keep in touch with many former patients.