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We are family! Three nurse sisters clock up 100 years of working in the NHS

‘Nursing must be in our blood,’ say siblings, who admit they find it hard to switch off and end up swapping work-related stories at family events

‘Nursing must be in our blood,’ say siblings, who admit they find it hard to switch off and end up swapping work-related stories at family events

Three siblings say ‘nursing must be in their blood’ as they celebrate clocking up 100 years in the NHS between them.

Senior charge nurse Arlene Watson, anaesthetic nurse Roz Kerr and sister Jean Watson have worked in healthcare for a century, with middle child Roz even returning to the front line after retirement.

The nursing trio admit they find it hard to switch off when they are all together, and usually end up swapping nursing stories at family events.

    ‘Nursing must be in our blood,’ say siblings, who admit they find it hard to switch off and end up swapping work-related stories at family events

    Sisters in arms: (l to r) Senior charge nurse Arlene Watson, sister Jean Watson and anaesthetic nurse Roz Kerr
    Sisters in arms: (left to right) Senior charge nurse Arlene Watson, sister Jean Watson and anaesthetic nurse Roz Kerr

    Three siblings say ‘nursing must be in their blood’ as they celebrate clocking up 100 years in the NHS between them.

    Senior charge nurse Arlene Watson, anaesthetic nurse Roz Kerr and sister Jean Watson have worked in healthcare for a century, with middle child Roz even returning to the front line after retirement.

    The nursing trio admit they find it hard to switch off when they are all together, and usually end up swapping nursing stories at family events.

    Trailblazer inspired youngest sister to follow in her nursing footsteps

    ‘We’re always talking shop, in work, and out of work – we always have banter about the job, but we love it,’ said oldest sister Jean Watson, who works on an elderly care ward for NHS Lanarkshire.

    Left to right: Jean, Arlene and Roz in 1981

    Longest-serving sister and trailblazing nurse in the family Roz Kerr officially retired three years ago, but came back into the service to work two days a week to support her siblings and pass on her knowledge to new staff.

    Training as a nursing student in 1981, Roz inspired youngest sister Arlene to follow in her footsteps ten years later.

    ‘I remember when Roz would be studying and I'd read her nursing books when I was around eight or nine and I knew I wanted to be a nurse,’ recalls Arlene, who works at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow (QEUH).

    ‘Nursing has changed drastically – treatments, techniques and new technology mean you are always learning new skills, but the basics have always been the same.

    ‘Every patient should be treated like a member of the family.’

    But in the last few years they say family connections have been even more important, for each other and for patients.

    Sisters’ ‘amazing’ mini-support network, particularly during the pandemic

    ‘Nursing must be in our blood somewhere. We understand each other’s jobs incredibly well, which has been an amazing mini-support network throughout our careers, and particularly through the pandemic,’ said Roz, who works at QEUH and Wishaw General in Lanarkshire.

    Sisters Arlene and Roz have been working together during the COVID-19 pandemic

    ‘While we were unable to see each other at home, I was able to work alongside my sister Arlene so we could keep in touch and make sure we were all okay.’

    Jean added: ‘In an elderly ward it can be very frightening for patients. We have had to become their family in place of their loved ones.’


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