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Thoroughly modern matron....

PUBLISHED: 17:13 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:41 03 July 2010

MODERN MATRON: James Paget Hospital's newly-appointed male matron Barry Pinkney

MODERN MATRON: James Paget Hospital's newly-appointed male matron Barry Pinkney

Dominic Bareham

NOT so long ago the role of matron in hospitals

was characterised by the busty, domineering and overwhelmingly female character played by the late Hattie Jacques in the 1960s Carry On films.

NOT so long ago the role of matron in hospitals

was characterised by the busty, domineering and overwhelmingly female character played by the late Hattie Jacques in the 1960s Carry On films.

But nowadays the role, and increasingly the gender, associated with the position has changed and the effect has been felt at the James Paget University Hospital, which has just appointed a male matron.

Barry Pinkney, 43, becomes matron of the orthopaedic department on Monday and he is looking forward to taking on the leadership role. He has 25 years experience in the nursing profession, part of it as a ward manager at the James Paget.

Mr Pinkney said: “I like leadership. I enjoy the challenges of people management and I suppose when you are progressing in your career you see it as a point you are trying to reach.

“I have got a lot of experience under my belt in understanding the bigger picture in nursing. Working as a matron is about working as a team.”

The married dad-of-two hopes to change people's perceptions that being a matron is women's work.

He said: “One of the things we need to get rid of is this stereotype that it is female work and show that males can progress in the hope more will come into nursing. It is still a very highly female dominated career.

“In mental health nursing there are more male nurses and there appears to be less of a stigma attached to this position than to nurses working in hospitals.”

During the heyday of the Carry On movies, a single matron would be responsible for the running of the whole hospital, including all nurses and domestic staff and would oversee patient care.

But since the return of the “modern matron” six years ago, a matron can now be found at the helm of each department. There are 15 at the James Paget.

Mr Pinkney lives with wife Sue and twin 10 year-old daughters Maisie and Emily, in Coxswain Read Way, Caister.

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