Dartford nurse Margaret retires after half a century of caring for others

PUBLISHED: 10:30 06 June 2018

Margaret (with the balloon) on her retirement day. Picture: Stella Jones

Margaret (with the balloon) on her retirement day. Picture: Stella Jones


After a career in health services spanning more than 50 years, nurse Margaret Stevens officially retired from the NHS on May 31.

Margaret when she first started out in nursing. Picture: Stella JonesMargaret when she first started out in nursing. Picture: Stella Jones

Rather than put her feet up and enjoy a well-deserved retirement though, she intends to volunteer for charities.

Margaret retired from her role at NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) just days after her 70th birthday - in the same year that the NHS celebrates its 70th year.

Margaret was 50 days old on the day the NHS came into being on July 5 1948.

She said: “I love nursing because of the feeling you get from helping people.”

Margaret started her nursing career at 17 and has worked at hospitals and care homes across London, Bristol and Kent.

She said: “I always knew I wanted to be a nurse from the age of six.

“I went to a grammar school, and they wanted me to be a doctor, but I stayed firm and said no, I want to be a nurse.”

She said: “I remember the first time a young patient of mine died, an 18-year-old with leukaemia, and I cried with his family.

“I had cared for him for many weeks and these memories stay with you forever.”

Margaret, who lives in Gillingham, has worked in the CCG’s Continuing Healthcare team since 2002.

She said: “I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, and my dog, Dolly.

“I am also planning to do some volunteering for local charities which support older and frail people, or those with dementia.”

When asked what advice she would give to aspiring nurses, she said: “It’s not always easy, but stick with it, and at the end of your training, you will find that nursing offers you so many opportunities.

“Always remember why you became a nurse.”

She added: “It’s our duty to encourage new people to join the NHS.

“One thing that we should never lose is to listen to the person we’re caring for and to give the right training to staff to be able to do the best they can. That is what the NHS was set up to do.”

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