A WELL-RESPECTED nurse is starting a new chapter as she retires after almost five decades service.
Sixty-five-year-old Jean Thompson was just 16-years-old when she started working as a cadet for the NHS getting an insight into hospital life.
When she turned 18-years-old she started her health training and went on to qualify as a nurse.
The mum-of-one then split her 48 years of working life between the University Hospital of Hartlepool, in Holdforth Road, Hartlepool, and Peterlee Health Centre, in Bede Way, Peterlee.
She did everything from taking blood, chaperoning patients, changing dressings and setting up clinics, and says she met hundreds of lovely people along the way.
Mum-of-one Jean said: “I’ve seen lots of changes over the years with different doctors and consultants been and gone.
“I’ve cared for a lot of lovely people over the years and become friends with consultants. If you treated them with respect they treated you with respect, you know.
“I also made friends with a lot of nurses and I’ll continue to see them.
“It’s been a ball but the time is right for me to go. It’s been a nice experience.”
Jean’s daughter Jane Muir, 40, a married mum-of-two, of Murray Street, Horden, is proud of her mum’s career.
She said: “I’m very proud of my mam working as a nurse all these years, and she should be proud of herself too. She’s enjoyed her time as a nurse but I think she’s ready to retire now.”
And colleague Amanda Southcott, speaking on behalf of the outpatients department where Jean worked at Hartlepool’s hospital, added: “Jean was an excellent nurse and she will be greatly missed by all her friends and colleagues who’ve worked with her over the years.”
Jean, who has two grandsons, Christopher Thompson, 22, and Matthew Thompson, 19, says as well as the serious side of caring for the sick, there were some funny times.
“I remember when we were students and we had to go round and make the beds,” she said.
“A certain sister used to go round and strip them all again because we hadn’t done the corners right!”
Jean said after all of her hard work over the years she is now looking forward to spending her well-earned retirement with her husband Dennis Thompson, 65, a retired worker at a former engineering firm in Hartlepool.
She said: “I’ll be encroaching on his time because he’s used to being able to do as he pleases while I’m at work!
“I’ll be relaxing and putting my feet up, visiting friends and getting all the jobs done that you don’t get done when you’re at work.”
Jean said she will also be going on holidays, going on pilgrimages with her pals at St Mary’s Church, in Horden, and is also looking forward to watching her eldest grandson Christopher graduate from Cleveland College of Art and Design later this month.