Britain’s oldest nurse has no plans to retire just yet – despite being 81

Our oldest nurse is still going strong at 81 – and she has every intention of keeping it that way.

Maureen Horton started out as a mental health nurse in 1969 and still cares for people in the community.

She retired in 1997 but only lasted a week before she was begging to return to the job she loves.

Maureen still works 20 hours a week and in a typical shift treats around eight to 10 patients.

She does blood pressure checks, ear syringing, wound dressings and catheter care, and supports patients and families with palliative care.

Maureen, from Sheffield, South Yorks, said: “I retired from full-time nursing at 60, had a nice week off and then I thought ‘What will I do now?’.

“So I took up a community bank nursing opportunity and I have been doing it ever since.”

The NHS was launched on July 5, 1948 and Maureen, born in 1937, started her career as a nurse 21 years later.

She has been in the job she loves for nearly 50 years and is currently doing community shifts for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

And there are no plans for a second stab at retirement.

Maureen said: “I just like being out in the community and visiting people and helping them in their recovery.

“I am given a list of patients to visit and I go and get the job done.

“Patients know me but I don’t usually tell them my age. Sometimes my colleagues will ask them ‘Do you know how old she is?’ and they can’t believe it.

“When I see patients the same age as me who are quite frail or poorly, I just try to encourage them. Not everyone is as lucky as I have been with my health.”

Maureen applied to become a state-enrolled nurse after spotting an advert in her local paper.

She trained at Nether Edge Hospital and the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, qualifying in 1972.

Maureen still has mandatory training and study days to keep her skills and knowledge up to date.

She added: “I don’t like sitting about, I have to get out and do something.

“Sometimes I say to my family, ‘I will probably finish this year’ but they say, ‘We know you won’t be able to sit still’.

“My husband, Edward, encourages me. I think he likes having the house to himself so he can watch the cricket.

“I take it each month at a time as I keep going. At the moment I feel good.”

One of the main changes Maureen has had to get used to during her long career is the introduction of new technology.

When she started out, she made written notes on patients. She had never used a computer until they were ­introduced by community services.

She said: “Doing this job was the first time I had ever used a computer and it was a bit overwhelming at first.

“But my colleagues were really good and showed me what to do if I had difficulties.

“Over time you get to grips with it. Another change is the equipment, which has got better over the years.”

Maureen said one thing that has never changed is the dedication of the NHS community staff.

She said: “It is just as good as it ever has been. They work very hard and are very devoted and very good at what they do.

“I think the NHS means a lot to people, to know it is always there for people who need it. I hope it carries on like that.

“I have known it since I was a child and it has served the country well.”

Credit : ByDaniel Sheridan, UK Mirror

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