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Nurse retires after nearly 40 years at Northampton hospital

Leading nurse and midwife Valerie McGurk, a 2002 Nurse Awards commendee, will fundraise for Cancer Research UK in her retirement.

A leading nurse and midwife who worked at the same hospital for 37 years has retired.

Valerie McGurk enjoyed an afternoon tea and received presents from her colleagues at Northampton General Hospital last Friday, as she called time on her nursing career.

Ms McGurk began work in 1979 as a pre-nursing student and qualified as an adult nurse in 1984. She gained her midwifery qualifications two years later.

Looking after your own

I am local to Northampton and I think the hospital is a great place, she told Nursing Standard. Its a great team and really supportive.

I have a sense of loyalty to it. You are looking after patients in your own region, so it feels like youre looking after your own, in a bizarre way.

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A leading nurse and midwife who worked at the same hospital for 37 years has retired.


Valerie McGurk celebrated her retirement with an afternoon tea. Picture: Northampton General Hospital.

Valerie McGurk enjoyed an afternoon tea and received presents from her colleagues at Northampton General Hospital last Friday, as she called time on her nursing career.

Ms McGurk began work in 1979 as a pre-nursing student and qualified as an adult nurse in 1984. She gained her midwifery qualifications two years later.

Looking after your own

‘I am local to Northampton and I think the hospital is a great place,’ she told Nursing Standard. ‘It’s a great team and really supportive.

‘I have a sense of loyalty to it. You are looking after patients in your own region, so it feels like you’re looking after your own, in a bizarre way. I’ve never felt the need to move.’

One of Ms McGurk’s proudest achievements was helping to develop a screening policy for retinopathy of prematurity, for which she was commended in the child health category of Nursing Standard’s Nurse Awards in 2002. Ms McGurk has also written book reviews for Nursing Standard.

Focus on patients

She says that, although nursing, medicine and technology have advanced during her career, she believes nurses must remain focused on the patients and not get caught up in ‘tick-box exercises’.

She also believes strongly in sharing best practice as widely as possible.

‘I am proud that I pushed my nursing career, on behalf of me and the hospital, as far as it can go,’ she added.

Ms McGurk has taken over as chair of the Daventry branch of Cancer Research UK and will fundraise in her retirement.


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