A LONG-serving NHS therapist has been speaking of her love for the service after 46 years.
Carole Richardson, 63, who works as an Occupational Health Senior Counsellor for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has no plans to leave the NHS either.
Carole, originally from Wigan, started her career as a nursery nurse in a special care children’s ward at Hope Hospital, Salford, before qualifying as a nurse in 1977.
She said: “I got into nursing because my best friend Jean said it would be a good idea. I am still working for the NHS and so is she!”
Following her entrance exam to nursing school and three years of training Carole started her career in a male surgical ward before transferring to a health visitor position in 1978. Jean meanwhile, went to work as a Practice Nurse.
Carole said: “I was a Health Visitor for 38 years. Part of that role was being Child Protection Co-Ordinator and I found that staff who dealt with such cases found issues from their own childhoods coming to the fore. I was interested in helping them so did counselling qualifications and ended up doing both roles at the same time.”
Over her time as a counsellor, Carole estimates she have taken more than 30,000 sessions and spoken to thousands of staff.
Carole has enjoyed every role she has taken in her lengthy NHS career and has seen every day as a new challenge.
She continued: “Over the years, there have been many changes and many things have come full circle.
“Nurses now are so much more specialised with Healthcare Assistants and Community Support staff so much more qualified than ever before.
“The NHS is such a good employer with so much occupational health support for staff. I am part of the team that delivers menopause workshops to staff for example to help them manage their symptoms and talk about how they are feeling.
“Our staff has to deal with some difficult situations but still manage to consistently deliver good care. It’s amazing.
“The NHS is all about lots of cogs in one big wheel. Without one little cog, nothing would work.
“And I’m not planning to leave the wheel any time soon.”