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Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, Thomas Drive, L14 3PE
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Nurses don’t want to leave Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital

Date: 20 February 2021 05:04

Five specialist nurses who clocked up a total of 189 years before retiring have returned to work at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as they love it so much.

The five are Alison Hulme, Sue Oakes, Valerie Wallace, Lynn Trayer-Dowell and Janice Dunne.

The last year has been tough for them all - especially for Lynn Trayer-Dowell; as a specialist nurse in infection prevention and control she has been in the forefront of the trust’s response to COVID-19, helping to protect both patients and staff.

Lynn said: “When the pandemic started it was like a big explosion; there was a massive amount for us to do; myself and the lead nurse for infection prevention and control have felt like guardians of people’s safety, responding to the constant changes in protocols and guidance; flipping wards to red for COVID-19 patients and back again; making sure staff had all the latest information they needed as well as giving them reassurance.

“It has been tough. But I don’t want to leave; I retired in November and returned to work three days a week and I work extra days if needed.

“I love working here, we have a great team and we support each other; working part time means I don’t get so tired and have a better quality of life. I have learned so much in the past year, about COVID and about myself – and I don’t want to leave so I am not setting a date to retire.”

Alison Hulme retired at the same time as Lynn, having started as a student nurse in 1984 at the old Walton Hospital, aged 19. She qualified slightly later than her peers after a back injury meant she was off work for four months.

“All I could think about was, what if that was the end of my career as a nurse before it had even started! Nursing was all I wanted to do. Thankfully I made a full recovery and went on to complete my training. It was the best time of my life!”

Alison worked in different areas of Aintree University Hospital for 25 years before joining Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital in 2009 as a Critical Care Outreach Nurse.

She has also returned in a part time role. “I wanted to return to work as I love my job and have been lucky enough to come back to work two long days a week.

“I am in a fantastic team with like-minded professionals who all work so well together. It is a lovely place to work with a great ethos and there is always so much support from all grades of staff,” said Alison.

Sue Oakes started her nurse training in 1981 and found herself drawn to the sickest patients; she became the end-of-life and bereavement lead for the trust and a clinical nurse specialist in palliative care.

She said: “I have worked in palliative care for 20 years and I love my job; caring for someone who is dying and supporting their family is so important, you only get one chance to get it right and it is very rewarding. There are two of us in our team and we are both passionate about our work – I am not ready to stop, I want to carry on.

“I have been working in palliative care for 20 years and the hours can be long when supporting a family, but we are prepared to go above and beyond for our families if needed, and I love that.”

Janice Dunn is a Cystic Fibrosis Nurse Specialist who has worked at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital ever since qualifying in 1987.

“I have never wanted to work anywhere else; I progressed at a young age, I was a junior ward sister aged 24 and a ward manager at 26 and always worked with patients with cystic fibrosis, looking after them from when they came over from Alder Hey or other paediatric hospitals.

“I wanted to continue working with cystic fibrosis patients; they are with us for life and we get to know them well. In the last year there has been a new drug treatment which has made a big difference and it has been great to see the improvement it’s caused.

“I love my job and the people I work, it is a very friendly hospital. And now I am working part time I am also able to spend more time caring for my mum and my 101 year old auntie, as well as my husband and two sons.”

Valerie Wallace, 55, decided she was too young to retire when the time came last November after 36 years in nursing; she has also returned to work part time, as a Transfusion Practitioner.

Valerie said: “I came over from Ireland to start training in 1985 at what was then called South Sefton School of Nursing based at the old Walton and Fazakerley Hospitals, where I went on to work in surgical wards for six years.

“I then spent six years working for the National Blood Service and joined Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital in 2001 as a specialist in blood transfusions. I’ve been here ever since and don’t want to leave.

“The last year with Covid has been hard – I haven’t seen my mum and family in Ireland for a year – but I’m not ready to retire, I love my job and it’s a very friendly place to work with very supportive colleagues.”