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Nurse who worked with stroke patients retires after 45 years in King's Lynn

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Having cared for patients for 45 years at two King's Lynn hospitals, a nurse has been recognised for her efforts working with stroke patients which has 'changed so much' during her time.

Joan Gill, 69, has been helping stroke patients at both the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and St James Hospital since the 1970s.

She gave up her Nursing and Midwifery Council registration on Wednesday, January 30 but will be returning to West Raynham ward as a health care assistant later this month.

Ms Gill said: “Instead of climbing up the ladder, I am going down a rung but this place has been my family for nearly 50 years.

“The team in West Raynham has always been there for me, in good times and in bad.

“I have always wanted to be a nurse and enjoy caring for the patients, which is why I have always been proud to be a staff nurse.

“Stroke care has changed so much during my time. It is interesting to see people that would not have survived a stroke in the past who are now walking out of the door.”

Joan Gill
Joan Gill

After qualifying as a nurse while in the Royal Air Force in 1970, Ms Gill joined the St James' team in 1974, specialising in care for older patients.

She then moved to the QEH after it was built in 1980.

“Technology has changed such a lot as we are able to diagnose and treat different strokes now," Ms Gill continued.

“It is so important to recognise the signs of a stroke because if we catch it early we can do so much. With thrombolysis, I have seen people with left side weakness recover before my eyes. They are up and walking the next day!”

The West Raynham ward is ranked in the top 10 stroke units in the country with Ms Gill being an integral part of that.

Mike Ennis, whose wife was treated in the ward, said: “Joan is lovely and always did her best for her patients. I was always happy to leave my wife in Joan’s capable hands."

Chief nurse Emma Hardwick added: “I would like to thank Joan for the care she has given to our patients over the last 45 years and for the inspirational support she has given to her colleagues on West Raynham.

“Over the years Joan has been a fine example of how improving care, improves outcomes and most importantly improves lives. I am also really pleased that Joan is not leaving us entirely and will be staying on to be a Health Care Assistant.”

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