How Carol turned childhood dream into forty year nursing career

How Carol turned childhood dream into forty year nursing career featured image
From early childhood Carol Brearley, of Morecambe, had a dream to be a nurse just like her role model – her mum Ruth Rattigan.

Ruth trained in Woolwich during the Second World War and worked all over the country as a nurse over a 40 year period. She finished working as a night sister in Halifax.

Carol, who has been a Macmillan Breast Care Specialist Nurse for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary for 17 years, commends her mum’s enthusiasm for nursing and her broad range of nursing knowledge.

Carol, who was brought up in Halifax, said: “I had always wanted to be a nurse from being a little girl. My mother was a nurse and she trained before the NHS came into existence. “My mum seemed to know so much about nursing and medical conditions and treatments. As a little girl, I used to love to go to meet her from work and wait while she changed out of the nurse’s uniform. She was very proud when I got in to Leeds General Infirmary to do my nurse training and she said that it was like old times when she came to see me in the nurses’ home.”

Carol started her training on 2 August 1975 at Leeds General Infirmary. She had posts in Leeds, Pendle and Grampian before she moved to Lancashire in 2001 and took up her senior nursing post in cancer care. Her current role involves offering support, information and advice to people diagnosed with breast cancer. She will often meet patients pre-diagnosis when they are having tests, disclose their results to them and support them through treatment.

Carol added: “The post has evolved over the years and no two days are alike. I love the patient involvement and I have some lovely work colleagues too. I really enjoy being part of the breast care team. “There have been many people I have met during my time here at UHMBT and have learned so much from the breast surgeons, oncologists, my breast cancer nurse colleagues, breast radiologists and radiographers, pathologists, the administrative staff. “The NHS is a phenomenal service. It’s not perfect but it’s a great organisation. It will only survive in the 21st century by people believing in it and being prepared to work in it.”

On 5 July 2018 the Trust will join other health organisations around the country to mark 70 years of the NHS as part of NHS England’s NHS 70 celebrations. As part of our celebrations we are sharing stories from our long-serving members of staff.

The Trust is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
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