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One of longest serving nurses at King George Hospital retires

Linda Ross retired last month (credit: BHRUT)

One of the longest serving nurses at King George Hospital has retired from the hospital’s trust – after a nearly 50-year career in nursing.

Linda Ross’s career in the industry spanned 48 years, including training at the former King George Hospital site, and over 30 years at the Barking, Havering and Redbridge Trust.

The 70-year-old retired last month saying an emotional farewell to her colleagues on the Iris ward after working there for over a decade in the run-up to her retirement, including through the pandemic.

Linda, from Chigwell, said: “I’ve loved working with the team, we’ve laughed and cried together and been through awful times with Covid.

“It was a very hard time and I never expected to see anything like it in my career. I still get choked up thinking about it now. The hardest thing was when patients died without having family around them.

“As a team, we supported each other and did everything we could so the patients knew someone was with them.”

Linda Ross earlier on in her career (BHRUT)

When Linda left school she did various office jobs. She said: “I hated it, I wanted to do something where I could help people but I never thought I was clever enough to be a nurse.

“Someone suggested training to be a support worker, like a healthcare assistant role now, and then I went on to do a two-year course to become an enrolled nurse, you had enrolled and registered nurses then.

“I qualified in 1978 and stayed at King George Hospital until 1980 when I wanted to see a bit of the world and went to Corfu and worked as a nanny.”

When she returned from her travels Linda completed a theatre nursing course and worked at various hospitals including Whipps Cross, before returning to the Trust in 1994.

Having trained in the former King George Hospital site, on returning to our Trust Linda spent the next three decades in the new building.

During her career, Linda has worked in a variety of specialties, including gynaecology and urology, but experienced more change than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic when Iris ward was repurposed for different patients five times.

She added: “I’ve been lucky to love what I do, and really enjoy caring for patients.

“I always planned to retire at 70 but I wasn’t quite ready when I had my birthday in November. I feel the time is right now. I am thinking of doing some voluntary work and would love to return to our wards.”

Linda, who has a son and daughter and three granddaughters, including a four-month-old, is looking forward to spending more time with her family in retirement, as well as seeing friends and travelling.

She’s also keen to learn new skills and will be attending u3a (the University of the Third Age) sessions, a learning network where older people share knowledge, skills and interests.

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