Pat Watts, a Midwifery Assistant at the Hull Women and Children’s Hospital has retired after 66 years of dedicated service to the NHS.
From a very young age, Pat knew she wanted to pursue a career in an environment which had people at heart. That passion led her into the health service in 1957 when she joined the gynaecology ward of the Cottage Hospital as a pre-student, aged just 16.
At 18 she started her career as a student nurse at Beverley Westwood Hospital. After getting married in 1960, she returned to the hospital as an auxiliary nurse, working the night shift until she became pregnant with her first child towards the end of 1961.
In 1963, Pat applied to go back to work, but since there were no available positions at Beverley Westwood Hospital, she ended up working at Brandesburton Hospital instead, again on night shifts. She remained there until the end of 1964 when she left to have her second child with her husband John.
In July 1966, she was able to return to Beverley Westwood Hospital and often found herself in charge of the night shift as an auxiliary nurse. She later had another period of work at the Cottage Hospital, but when it closed down, Pat returned to Beverley Westwood once again. She initially worked in the gynaecology ward before transitioning to maternity.
Pat relocated once more to the Castle Hill Hospital, where she worked in the midwife-led birth centre. She also worked in Jubilee Centre, supporting midwives to care for women and training in baby massage before it closed in 2012. She then transferred to the Hull Women and Children’s Hospital where she worked as a midwifery assistant in the Maple Ward.
After 66 years, however, Pat is folding her striped uniform and heading home for good to care for her husband, whose ill health now requires her undivided attention.
While she is more than happy to support her husband, Pat, now 82, said she would have loved to stay on longer.
“I would have continued working. I don’t know how long for because I am quite healthy and fit, but my husband comes first.”
She added that whereas she has loved every bit of her career, describing it as “my life” it was just appropriate to let go now for her husband because “I just couldn’t leave him.”
Commenting on why she stayed on for so long when others like her have already retired, Pat said she simply could not see herself doing anything else. She tried to wean herself off work by cutting her hours from 30 to 20 but not even that helped.
“I loved working. I loved my job, it’s been my life and kept me going but if you’ve got family, you’ve got to help out. ”
Despite the challenges and the many changes the health service has gone through since she started, Pat said “I have thoroughly enjoyed my job. I loved my team and I miss people.”
For anyone contemplating a career in midwifery, Pat says “Go ahead and do it.”
Claire Porteus, Charge Midwife on Maple Ward said: “We have missed Pat since she took her well-deserved retirement. She was everyone’s favourite unofficial Auntie on Maple Ward and made our night shifts much bearable.
“She worked really hard and was such a cheerful team member, and a great listener. Pat is very much loved and she has more than earned her rest and time to spend with her family,” Claire added.
Team members who were also very fond of Pat said they will miss their ‘Queenie’, as she was affectionately called.
“It was a privilege to work with her for the last 27 years. She will definitely be missed. She will be classed as a feature, and is so missed. It has been lovely working with her.”