James Paget at 40: Beverley's nursing story

Senior Sister Beverley Gray

Senior Sister Beverley Gray - Credit: JPUH

The James Paget University Hospital is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its official opening.

To help celebrate the landmark date we have been talking to some of the staff who work there. Here we speak to Senior Sister Beverley Gray.

Senior Sister Beverley Gray pledged her future to her local hospital at the tender age of 14.

When she was a child, Beverley was clear on what she wanted to be when she grew up: a nurse at her local hospital.

So, when an opportunity to attend an open day at the brand new James Paget Hospital came up, Beverley jumped at the chance.

Accompanied by her dad and younger sister, Beverley enjoyed a tour of the hospital and found it ‘amazing.’

Beverley Gray seen as a student nurse

Beverley Gray seen as a student nurse - Credit: JPUH

“At the end, the gentleman who gave us the tour said: ‘well, that is the end of your tour - and I hope I never have to see you here again.’ I then piped up: ‘I hope you see me because I want to be a nurse and work here!’”

Four years later, Beverley’s dream came true when she started her nurse training at the Paget - and has stayed at the hospital ever since.

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Early on in her career, Beverley decided that she wanted to care for patients undergoing surgery, in particular those undergoing procedures resulting in a same-day discharge.

In 1998, she started work in the hospital’s Day and Emergency Unit - located in what is now the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit - before moving to a brand new Day Unit, which opened in 2003 on the site now occupied by Ward 22.

However, as the number of procedures and operations being conducted as ‘day cases’ - where patients have their operation and leave hospital on the same day - grew, it became clear that a new facility would be needed to cope with the increasing demand.

As a result, a new £8 million day case theatres complex was constructed, opening in 2015. Constructed as a vertical extension at the back of the hospital, the complex features three operating theatres - and is where Beverley spends her working days as the Senior Sister, overseeing a team of 14 staff.

“Caring for day case patients is my passion - as I see first-hand how it benefits them,” said Beverley.

“When I first started my career, if a patient had an operation on their gall bladder, they would be in hospital for seven days.

"Now, the patient goes home the same day, which is not only better for them but helps reduce demand on the hospital’s bed capacity too.

“Patients do not want to be in hospital for any longer than is necessary. They want to go home as soon as they can. Some are extremely nervous or worried - but the thought that they will be going home on the same day as their operation gives them great comfort,” she said.

The list of operations that can be undertaken as day cases at the James Paget continues to expand: recently, knee replacements and prostate biopsies have been added to an ever-expanding list of procedures in specialisms including gynaecology, dentistry, orthopaedics, ear, nose and throat, ophthalmology and breast surgery.

“The list is only going to increase in the future, benefiting more and more of our patients,” added Beverley.