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 Retired nurse with four decade career surprises NHS staff on International Nurses Day

Retired nurse with four decade career surprises NHS staff on International Nurses Day

By 29th May, 2024 News & Articles No Comments

A RETIRED nurse who spent over 40 years in the NHS gave staff at a Bolton hospital a surprise for International Nurses Day.

Doris Mary Coleman, 89, began her career in 1956, after completing her nursing education at the United Manchester Hospital School of Nurses.

She went on to obtain her ophthalmic nursing board diploma and then passed the central midwives board examination, before filling various nursing roles over the following 44 years.

She began assisting on the maternity ward at Bolton Royal Infirmary, where she was affectionately known as Aunty Mary, and later worked in the ophthalmology department. Mary eventually rose to matron, managing two wards at the hospital, before retiring in 1990.

Now living at Lever Edge Care Home, in Great Lever, Mary was asked if she wanted to help with a celebration for International Nurses Day.

The care home’s activities coordinator, Manny Patel, approached Mary and several other residents to help prepare goody bags for the staff at Avondale Health Centre, part of Royal Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

The bags contained flavoured coffees, hot chocolate, biscuits, sweets, chocolates, pens, cards with quotes, hand gel, lip balms, and more.

After Mary and her fellow residents took the time to decorate the cards by hand and sign them, she joked: “I used to be a nurse. Where’s mine?”

Manny and Mary then travelled to the hospital to deliver the bags, which also gave the former nurse the opportunity to reminisce with matrons, sisters, and members of the community nursing team.

She said: “Times have changed from when I used to be a nurse. In 1956, nursing was different. There are new treatments now and advancements in medicine.

“One thing that hasn’t changed is the privilege of caring for others and making a difference to their lives.”

After meeting several members of the nursing team, Mary was presented with a rose and a can of gin and tonic, and Manny received a hamper for the care home’s summer fayre raffle.

Mandy Whitelaw, the leader of the Community Nursing Team at the Royal Bolton Foundation Trust, was among those to receive a goodie bag.

She said: “Meeting Mary was a delightful experience and we truly appreciated her taking the time to visit us.

“It was heart warming to see that the residents also dedicated their time to create gifts for us.

“Being a nurse is a privilege, as it allows us to give back to others. However, meeting Mary and hearing her stories was truly special. It’s amazing that she still considers herself a nurse.

“The rest of the staff who had the opportunity to meet her were grateful and realised how interconnected our world can be.

“We hope Mary enjoyed her little glass of gin when she returned. It was truly a pleasure to meet her and we are glad that you all recognise the importance of nurses.”

Manny said: “Mary was delighted to see all the nursing staff in their uniforms, especially the matrons’ red uniforms, as she used to be a matron herself.

“She was alert, chatty and excited before we got to the hospital and then seeing the nurses and matrons filled her with joy during the visit. She even got a bit tearful.

“My daughter, Farisha, is a newly qualified nurse, I work closely with the nurses here, at Lever Edge, and the Community Nursing Team make regular visits as well, so I wanted to organise something to show our appreciation on International Nurses Day.

“The residents were delighted with the goody bags idea and Mary, Doreen, Brenda, and Olive all helped put them together. It was a pleasure delivering them alongside Mary.”

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