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Bury St Edmunds nurse Linda Potts celebrates 50 years' service with the NHS in West Suffolk

A Bury St Edmunds nurse who has 'dedicated her working life to caring for others' has celebrated 50 years' service with the NHS.

Linda Potts, 68, started her career as a student nurse at West Suffolk Hospital on May 17, 1971 and now works a regular night shift at the King Suite at Glastonbury Court care home.

Steve Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, congratulated Linda on her 'remarkable achievement'.

Linda Potts is celebrating 50 years' service with the NHS
Linda Potts is celebrating 50 years' service with the NHS

"Linda is one of those people who make the NHS the treasured service that it is, someone who has dedicated her working life to caring for others," he said.

"Like so many of our staff she has gone the extra mile during the pandemic to support both patients and colleagues, and that is so much appreciated."

Linda, a mother-of-two and grandmother-to-three, began her general nurse training at West Suffolk Hospital after a two year college course which she joined on the spur-of-the-moment.

Linda with a long service award
Linda with a long service award

“I only did that because at a school careers event my best friend put her hand up when they got to nursing so I did too – looking back it was providence and I made the right choice," she said.

After eight weeks of study at the hospital, Linda remembers how as students they were 'let loose' on the wards.

"We had a booklet where competencies were signed off as we went along, and by the third year would be in charge of a ward at night," she said.

Uniforms were dresses only, with caps and a belt complete with silver buckle once qualified.

“I still have my belt with its buckle,” said Linda. “Like a lot of people my parents bought it for me when I qualified, it was a statement.”

Her roles at the hospital over the years have included staff nurse in recovery; a stint on F2 which was then ear, nose, throat and eyes; day and emergency ward; a sister on surgical ward F5; a night sister and clinical duty manager.

She was also based at Newmarket Community Hospital for a year.

As a staff nurse on the King Suite, Linda works 23 hours a week on night duty but during the pandemic has been covering shifts, clocking up an extra 90 hours this March.

King Suite focuses on rehabilitation and helping people achieve independence to be able to return home.

Reflecting on five decades of medical progress, she said: "It’s amazing how much more we can do for people.

"After a hip fracture, patients would stay in hospital for six weeks in traction – now they can be discharged in days.

"Chemotherapy and radiotherapy have made such a difference, it has been good to be a part of it all.

"I am proud I have done 50 years."

Charlotte King, manager at King Suite, added that Linda was a 'much-valued colleague' and they were delighted to celebrate her 50 years with the NHS.

"The work we do here supports patients to go home and live the best life they can, with as much independence as possible," she said.

"We rely on the skills and compassion of professionals like Linda to achieve that, and she makes a real difference to the people in our care."

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