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Looking back on a career in nursing

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Today, I retired from my role as a nurse practitioner in a GP surgery and from a career in nursing. I am feeling nostalgic, but as I reflect, am struck by how diverse, fulfilling and rewarding my journey has been.

It began 32 years ago when I trained as a state registered nurse at St. Thomas's Hospital, London. With new friendships and a flat opposite the Houses of Parliament, my career was off to a good start. Nursing then was all about consolidating knowledge with practice and we undertook 'blocks' of ward experience, preceded by two to three weeks in nursing school.

True nightingales
Quickly established was the 'back row' where my friends and I would base ourselves so we could easily sneak in (if late) or out (if bored) of lectures and stay out of sight of the lecturer. We nevertheless passed our finals and became fully-fledged nurses proud to wear the Nightingale badge and call ourselves TNs (True Nightingales).

During three years of training we established preferences for a field of nursing, mine for A&E; St Thomas's A&E was huge and awe-inspiring to a second year student. Dramas unfolded regularly in various areas of the department, the Brixton riots being the most scary and memorable.

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