A MATRON who retired from a Taunton hospital after 31 years has given the County Gazette an insight into how things have changed during her working life.

As reported last week, Joy Dyer has retired from Nuffield Health Taunton Hospital, which she joined in February 1983.

Her first nursing role, in 1973, was as a health care assistant working nights at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton; where as a student nurse in 1975 she achieved the Daily Express National Nurse of the Year Award. She later became a Ward Sister at Bridgwater Hospital.

Joy joined Nuffield as a full time senior ward sister in 1983, moved onto clinical manager in 1988 and became matron in 1990.

A presentation was made to Joy on her last day on Tuesday last week and she cut a cake watched by colleagues.

Hospital Director Sasha Burns said: “Joy’s high standards and competitive drive to always achieve the best has been evident for all to see. We will strive to continue delivering those high standards and remain a hospital that Joy will be proud of. We would like to wish her all the best for her retirement; she certainly deserves to put her feet up.”

Here’s what she had to say when asked about her career.

Q. Why did you pursue a career in nursing?

A. I was a St John Ambulance cadet as a teenager and have always been interested in health care. Nursing offered me a career where I could provide this and gave me the opportunity to work as part of a team.

Q. What did it mean to you to become matron?

A. I was extremely proud to be appointed - this role would enable me to continue to focus on patient care and lead the whole nursing team.

Q. What has been your highlight during your time as matron?

A. The last 31 years have been a fantastic journey for me and I have been fortunate to have with me on that journey some inspiring and very special people that have always supported me in my aspirations. As matron I have been able to support the hospital to gain excellent patient feedback, from thankyou letters to comments in our recent Care Quality Commission report.

Q. What challenges have you faced along the way?

A. After working as part of the same management team for 21 years, as changes occurred I was the consistent and unchanging member of the senior management team for the hospital. It didn’t matter what challenges were thrown at the hospital, I was always there to be their support and stability.

Q. What was it like when you started and what changes have you seen?

A. When I started we had 28 beds and one theatre; now we have 41 en-suite rooms and three theatres as well as the endoscopy suite, two x-ray rooms and a suite of out-patient facilities.

Q. Why did you choose to retire now?

A. Following a three month stint working at Glasgow Nuffield, which gave me an enormous personal boost with positive feedback, I realised that my beloved Taunton could continue without me and I have grown rather used to having long weekends with my husband.

Q. What will you be sad to leave behind?

A. The people of the hospital, Nuffield’s Matron Community and the daily contact with patients and visitors I meet as part of my role.

Q. What are you plans for the future?

A. Initially I would like to enjoy some more me-time and enjoy travelling in our new motorhome. I have volunteered to join the new Nuffield Health Matron Bank – where I could be called to any Nuffield Health Hospital across the country, to work on special projects.