When Maggie Toon was born on the Greenwood ward at Stamford Hospital, she had no idea she would later go on to work there.
But staff nurse Maggie is now looking back on a 46-year career at the same hospital.
The 62-year-old from Easton-on-the-Hill joined the hospital in Ryhall Road as a cadet nurse aged just 16. She had a two-year break after giving birth to her son Mark in 1975, and another 10 months away when her daughter Sarah arrived in 1978. But Maggie has never had second thoughts about coming back to Stamford Hospital.
“A lot of it is the people you work with and the building you are in,” she said. “Stamford Hospital is a lovely place to work and there’s a lovely atmosphere. Everyone is so supportive of one another and that’s what makes the team.
“I love talking to people and that’s a good part of it. There is a lot of talking, a lot of reassuring with all the different things that we have to contend with. I talk to the patients but you can’t forget their relatives either.”
Maggie has seen plenty of changes during her career, both to nursing and the hospital itself. She still remembers her first uniform, with a starched white hat and apron, and hand-washing stainless steel bedpans.
In recent years the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust has embarked on a huge redevelopment of the hospital, which will eventually bring a range of new services. Maggie said: “In Stamford there’s a lot going on. There is a lot happening with the development as well. I think it’s such a good thing for the people of Stamford and the people that work here. It’s going to guarantee our jobs for a lot longer.
“People really value the hospital in Stamford.”
With 46 years under her belt Maggie is now starting to think about retirement. She said: “I don’t necessarily want to retire but my body is telling me perhaps I should. I’ve got two young granddaughters down in Devon. That’s a long way so I can’t go as often as I would like.”
But when she does decide to hang up her uniform she will take years of good memories with her.
And Maggie is keen to share her experience of nursing with a new generation. She said: “I hope people coming in to nursing will have the same memories. It’s a wonderful profession to be in.”