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Sue Smith: ‘The hospital has been a big part of my life and it’s a big part of our community too.'

9 April 2024

SueSmithWeb.jpgWith the hospital celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, staff nurse on the Aston Ward at Congleton War Memorial Hospital, and local Congleton resident Sue Smith shares her memories of the hospital from the past 40 years.

I was born at Congleton War Memorial Hospital and most of my family have lived in the town for much of their life. My great grandma (nee Frost) was a community midwife in the town in the late 1920s, so my family were all quite excited when I decided I wanted to go into nursing.

I went to school in Congleton, completed my nurse training in Manchester and came back to Congleton in 1985 to get married before starting to work at the hospital.

The hospital means a lot to the community of Congleton and throughout my time, family members of relatives in the hospital would always say ‘what would we do without this hospital’ because of the fantastic care their relative has received. When I looked after patients in the early 80s, predominantly older people, they would always share the memory of how the local community would pay for the hospital and how proud they were to contribute to the local hospital.

The theme of the community supporting the hospital has remained over the years. In particular during COVID-19 when there was a shortage of PPE, and we were given additional scrubs from local sewing factories in the town. You can see how tight the community is and how much they value the hospital and what it does for the town.

Our philosophy is ‘if that was one of your relatives, how would you want them to be looked after’ so we pride ourselves on the level of care and that shows in the gold accreditation we received. Some of the staff don’t want to retire because they enjoy it so much. It’s coming to work but it’s also joining your family as well. We all have the same aim to provide good quality care and because you do that, you enjoy coming to work.

When I first came to the hospital, we had a social club and it’s always been like a family working here. When I started there were many staff who had been there for many years and that theme seems to continue and people working here have been around for a long time. Now we have international nurses, and they too have become like our family as they’ve come here, and their families are all abroad. So, we like to make sure that they are all looked after and with myself being from Congleton I want to make sure they enjoy being in the town.

The hospital has been a big part of my life and it’s a big part of our community. For me working here means a lot and it makes me proud being from the town too. It’s brilliant to be celebrating its 100th anniversary and we look forward to its next 100 years!