Blackpool Teaching Hospitals is saying goodbye to one of its longest serving members of staff, after Jennifer Campbell, a Physiological Measurement Technician, retired from service after 46 years in the NHS.
Jennifer, who started her career in the general office at Blackpool Victoria in 1974, went on to enjoy a career in neurophysiology and gastrointestinal physiology, providing services to the Blackpool community in the two distinct specialities.
The Blackpool resident, who has made the short walk across Stanley Park to work every day, was given a surprise, socially-distanced, send-off from her colleagues in outpatients at Blackpool Victoria and is now looking forward to learning some new skills in her retirement.
“It was a big surprise. I’m not used to fuss,” Jennifer said, clutching a huge bouquet of flowers after being surprised by her colleagues. “When I came thundering out and saw everybody, I thought ‘Oh no!’’. My plan was just to slide quietly away. I thought with everything else going on maybe the girls wouldn’t have been able to do anything.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at Blackpool Victoria, but I am coming up to the proper retirement age anyway so I want to have a bit of time.
“Most of my plans for retirement are in abeyance at the moment due to COVID. I was planning holidays, learning to swim properly and joining a gym to lose some of my lockdown weight.”
Looking back on her career, Jennifer has seen, at close hand, the many changes within Blackpool Victoria Hospital, and the NHS in general, and has had the opportunity to impact the lives of old and young across the Blackpool and Fylde community.
“The Vic has not changed all that much, although there are lots of extra corridors,” Jennifer smiles looking back on her many years of service.
“I started in general office and then I transferred to EEG (Electroencephalograph) because a training post came up and I enjoyed that more than the things in the office.
“When you went on the wards you had to obey the Matron, if she said get off the ward you got off as quick as you could. I have seen a lot changes, technology has moved on, processes in the hospital have changed as well.
“The department is only small, but we have kept a good specialised service and patients don’t have to travel so far away.
“The scope of our work is quite wide, and the range of our tests covers most of the specialities across the hospital – so we are not pigeon-holed into one directorate. I like the contact part of our job, our tests are quite long, and we are with a patient quite a while, most of them last an hour; so it is not a quick in-and-out job. We see all age groups, children right up to people in their nineties and over.”
Now Jennifer is keen to see others follow in her footsteps, and is happy to recommend the NHS, and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals in particular, as a place where someone can progress and achieve their ambitions.
“It is a good career choice,” she said. “There is training and there is ability to move up the ranks if you are willing and able. You have got to be the right person, you have got to be a people person, but if you are that way inclined then it is good.
“You get a certain degree of mobility, there are different jobs, it is not just nurses, there are lots of other things in the hospital, if you are more technically minded.
“In a place like Blackpool it is pretty ideal, because it is a nice friendly hospital.”
Joanne Bark, Divisions Director of Operations For The Unscheduled Care said: “Jennifer has dedicated the last 46 years to her speciality with commitment and loyalty.
“Within her leadership role she has moved the service forward, increasing activity and developing new initiatives with the service provision improving patient outcomes and diagnosis.
“On behalf of the Trust and her colleagues I would like to thank Jennifer for her allegiance to her speciality, her patients, colleagues and the Trust. She will be greatly missed in her role and I am sure her team wish her the very best for her retirement.”