Elizabeth Ellesley

I began my nursing career at the Nightingale School of Nursing in February 1976 and began living in Gassiot House. Here I met fellow nurses who 40 years later I still can call friends.

My first ward was William, an old Nightingale ward and to this day I still remember two of the patients. Six weeks later I moved to Wardroper ward. It was so hot that summer that our legs would ache badly at the end of a shift due to the nature of the flooring in the ward. Following, I moved to Lambeth Hospital working men’s surgical, then back to St Thomas’ for a stint on Beckett ward, next came South Western Hospital, a three month stay nursing geriatrics. This was really hard physical work and there was never enough time or enough hands to balance out the care needed. Throughout my career I worked with all ages of patients.

Back to St Thomas’ and seconded to A+E working with some extremely caring doctors. Finally, to Page Ward, where nursing care came into its own, the working pace was normally hectic but at times so rewarding, a place where all the training to date could be put to good use. Fortunately, when my placement here drew to a close, I was offered full time employment on the ward and here I remained for a further year.

Gaining full employment allowed me to apply to join the Fellowship and it was wonderful to be accepted as a member.
I left when offered a place on an 18-month conversion course to achieve Registered Nurse status at The Royal Hampshire Hospital. I completed the course and qualified as an SRN. From Hampshire to Essex, to begin 18 months of midwifery training. I remained working for the Mid Essex Trust for many years going from full to part time when I gave birth to my son in 1986. Following his birth, I returned to work nights but eventually these hours affected my well-being and I had to reassess my workload. I decided to return to general nursing, and it appeared that I had to retrain to nurse again! I then did a 3 month Return to Nursing course and achieved a Grade A result.

Following on, I worked as an agency nurse, venepuncturist for the National Blood Service, Occupational nursing and, missing clinical input became a Practice Nurse for a country practice, remaining here for 8 years till retirement beckoned.
Throughout my working career St Thomas’ and the level of training given to me was the bedrock for my nursing career and I will be forever grateful that I was accepted into the Nightingale School of Nursing and the opportunities it afforded me.