Eye nurse bows out after 40 years

Shirley Partridge, glaucoma nurse specialist at Cromer and District Hospital, has retired after 40 y

Shirley Partridge, glaucoma nurse specialist at Cromer and District Hospital, has retired after 40 years. Picture: NNUH - Credit: Archant

When Shirley Partridge started working at Cromer Hospital a litre of petrol cost 28p, Abba topped the charts with Super Trouper and mobile phones looked and weighed about the same as a brick.

But after 40 years, Mrs Partridge, of Overstrand, has decided it is finally time to hang up her fob watch.

The 58-year-old began her career aged just 19.

She said: “I started in March 1980 as an auxiliary - an untrained nurse. Then I went to do my training as an enrolled nurse.”

After training, Mrs Partridge took a position at the former Fletcher Hospital, looking after elderly patients, and in 1985 she began caring for outpatients at Cromer Hospital.

She said: “I did some extra training to become a staff nurse.

“That was when the eye clinic used to be there in the outpatient department of the old hospital.

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“But then it came out and became its own department, and I went with it.”

Mrs Partridge, who has cycled to work for the vast majority of her time at the hospital, then became a glaucoma specialist, focusing on eye disorders that cause damage to the optic nerve.

MORE: Fundraisers have 12 months to raise £350,000 for new Macmillan centreShe said the relationships she had formed with colleagues and patients had been one of the highlights of her career.

“You see the same people coming back. I’ve had some lovely patients and worked with some lovely staff as well,” she said.

Mrs Partridge said health care in Cromer had changed a lot over the past four decades.

She said: “When I did my training at Cromer we used to have a main theatre and we did quite big operations like hips and knees and things, but we don’t do that anymore.

“In the eye department we do things a lot differently to when I started. In that time, patients were waiting three years to have their cataracts removed.

“We did have a very short waiting list at one point, but now it’s about six months.”

Mrs Partridge, who has been nominated for award for her work, has two adult children - a son, 32, and a daughter 30.

She is looking forward to becoming a grandma for the first time in June.