Nurse Patricia McGinty finally says goodbye to Northwick Park Hospital later this summer after a career spanning more than 45 years.
“It’s been a fantastic place to work and a real privilege,” says the mother of five who remembers one of her first jobs was being responsible for cleaning patients’ dentures.
Patricia started work in medical records in 1974 three years after the hospital first opened but retrained as a nurse.
“I just enjoyed being around patients and helping other people made me feel I was doing something worthwhile with my time.”
It was the year US President Richard Nixon resigned because of Watergate, Mohammed Ali defied the odds in Rumble in the Jungle and an unknown writer called Stephen King had his first book published.
Patricia was one of more than 500 nurses who lived on site. They were looked after by two resident welfare officers or ‘mums’ as they are affectionately known.
“There was a great sense of camaraderie in those days and we have some fantastic parties.”
This included RAF Northwood providing a free coach to its air base for fish and chip suppers and dances as well as some impressive in-house hospital entertainment from the likes of Cream’s Ginger Baker, and jazz singer George Melly.
The social club and bar was then located on Level Two of the main block and known as the ‘dungeon’ as it had no windows. Patricia even cashed in her fledgling pension to pay for her 21st birthday party in Himsworth Hall.
“We had a good time but we worked hard as well,” added Patricia whose five children were born at Northwick Park.
She has spent the past seven years working as a polyposis nurse specialist at St Mark’s after spending the majority of her career in acute medicine.
“I’ve made so many friends here over the years. I’ll be genuinely sorry to go but I have seven grandchildren to keep me busy.”
We’d like to wish Patricia all the best for a long, happy and well deserved retirement.