End of an era as one of QE Gateshead's longest serving members of staff retires

Posted on Mon, 13/05/2019

QE Gateshead said goodbye and thank you to one of our longest serving members of staff who retires after 40 years.

Sharon Maddison (Pearson) began her NHS career at Gateshead School of Nursing in 1979 and has been a driving force in improving patient care and staff development across the Trust.

After 20 years on the wards as a staff nurse, ward sister and matron, her next step was into service management, holding posts including Divisional Manager for Clinical Support, Associate Director for Transformation, Associate Director of Medicine and, most recently, Joint Strategic Transformation Lead.

Always looking to innovate, she introduced newly developed services including the Chemotherapy Day Unit, Surgical High Dependency Unit, the South of Tyne Bowel Cancer Screening Unit and the North East AAA Screening Services as well as leading the development of new facilities such as the Endoscopy unit and played a key role in the opening of the pioneering Emergency Care Centre.

Looking back on the changes she has seen over the last four decades, Sharon believes it is an exciting time to be a nurse, with more opportunities available to make a difference than ever before.

She said:  “When I started my nurse training in Gateshead, the day-to-day role of a nurse was very different. We would boil the eggs for patients’ breakfasts, take temperatures with a thermometer under the tongue and it was a lot more manual as were without the technologies we have today.

“But despite the changes, nursing will always be intrinsically about caring for people and that ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

“I think it is an exciting time to be a nurse and there are more opportunities now than ever.

“When I first started, I never imagined the varied route my career would take. I feel like I have never stopped learning and I have enjoyed playing a part in improving experiences for both patients and staff.

“The demands on the NHS are constantly changing and it is important we all continue to innovate – often it is the small things that can make a big difference.

“Teamwork is vital – as is listening to staff – as they know best what is needed to help them do their jobs to the best of their ability.

“There is a great sense of teamwork here in Gateshead and a real focus on treating others as you would like to be treated yourself. That makes it a very special place and one which I am certainly going to miss.”

Susan Watson, Director of Strategy and Transformation, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Sharon has dedicated 40 years to improving patient care and staff development in Gateshead as both a nurse and senior manager. Her caring and nurturing nature means she places people at the centre of all that she does and this has helped to bring about changes that have made a real difference to people’s lives.

“We wish her all the best in her retirement.”

Find out more about nursing careers in Gateshead here

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