It was an emotional moment when our longest serving member of staff was surprised with a certificate and presents as part of NHS70.
Mary Owen, a staff nurse in gynaecology, has worked for Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for a total of 43 years and 11 months.
Thanking her for her dedication, Nigel Beverley, chairman, said: “It’s a wonderful example of commitment and service to the NHS and to the hospital. Nearly 44 years - what an amazing achievement.”
Having always wanted a career in nursing, Mary started out as a cadet nurse at Orsett Hospital in the late 70’s at the tender age of 16.
She said: “I went to the Orsett School of Nursing and once I qualified I enjoyed my placement on a male surgical ward at Orsett.”
After a career break in 1981 when she had her daughter, Mary returned as a ‘pool’ nurse until a job came available in gynaecology.
The grandmother of two added: “And I’ve been here ever since.
“I was so shocked to realise everyone was here to see me. I don’t think about how long I’ve worked here; I enjoy my job, I like coming in and seeing my colleagues and the patients, so it was a bit of a shock.
“The NHS is special because it’s for everybody and free at the point of care. It’s a wonderful environment to work in. Lots has changed over the years, the technology and the speed at which patients are seen, treated and sent home but the fundamentals of what makes good care remain the same.
“We are here because of the patients. I like to treat each person who walks through the ward door as I would want a member of my family to be treated. So I always try to be polite, courteous, I listen and communicate well – it’s so important to listen to the patient and make care management plans from there.”