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Shirley Jones: ‘Everyone works together for the same goal, everybody contributes and it feels like we are all part of one family’

7 June 2024

Image 1.jpegStaff Nurse on Aston Unit, Shirley Jones, shares her experiences of working at a hospital that continues to have a special place in her life. 

I started working on the Orthopaedic Unit at the East Cheshire NHS Trust in 1992. Orthopaedics has always been a passion of mine, ever since I qualified. Working on the Orthopaedic Unit was fabulous, as it allowed me to develop my skills. I have been away and done other things, but somehow, I’ve always ended up back there.

At the start of the COVID-19, staff were redeployed to support areas that were feeling the weight of the pandemic. I went out to Congleton. I didn’t have any issues with moving, but when I got there, I was terrified, it was the most frightening time of my career. On the plus side, I met a very welcoming and supportive team. There was a sense of all being in it together and bonds and friendships were formed. We all supported and looked after each other. We were all working together towards the same goal.

When the time came for me to go back to Orthopaedics, I didn’t really want to leave that feeling of being in that team. I reached a stage of my life where my mother was frail and very unwell, and I’d had a two close family bereavements. I knew I couldn’t go back to doing my old job, not in the way I had done it before. I knew if I stepped back and went part time, I could support my family and use my nursing / practitioner skills to support in other ways.

Thankfully I was allowed to stay to stay at Congleton, and I’m will always be very grateful for that. It was a very sad and negative time in my personal life, and they gave me so much strength. They’ve supported me, checking on my emotional, mental and physical health, and I can’t tell you how much that has meant.

I was lacking in confidence when I first went to Congleton and the team really helped me. Now, I feel as if I’m making a valuable contribution. I am over the age of retirement but still feel like I can contribute positively and that this is acknowledged. I feel like my experience counts for something.  I’m not afraid of change and I like to think I am still capable of learning and growing.

We all have different talents, and we all have things we are particularly good at, everyone’s role is valued, I could not get through my shift without my colleagues. Everyone plays a part including the Healthcare Assistants, they are our eyes and ears.  We have several international nurses on the unit and they have broadened our horizons too.

The ‘Bollywood’ dancing at our recent 100-year anniversary event showcased the diversity and inclusivity of the team and demonstrated the strength of the relationship between us.

I do like the relationship with my colleagues and that’s what it’s all about really, it’s what keeps me going. We are a blended family.


Image caption: Staff from the Aston Unit following their Bollywood dance performance at the ward’s event to celebrate the 100th anniversary. Shirley is pictured second from the right on the bottom row.