Jo calls it a day after 45 years

Johanna Thomas, a staff nurse at University Hospital in Coventry, has retired, bringing an end to an NHS career spanning 45 years.

Jo, from Burbage, Leicestershire, started as an auxiliary nurse at the former Walsgrave Hospital in 1971 as a 17 year old, before starting her training in January 1972. She went onto have a career based in surgery, where she worked at Leicester Royal Infirmary for 10 years before returning to Coventry in 1990 as a Staff Nurse in Day Surgery before rising up the ranks to Sister before becoming Patient Selection Sister.

Jo, 62, said: “The role was brand new at the time, I would help prepare patients for theatre and find people suitable to be moved onto the surgery lists so that every bed was used in the Day Surgery Unit.”

After starting her latest role in Pre-operative Assessment in 2014, Jo has seen many changes throughout her career. She said: “Patients are now more aware of what to expect and can have a conversation with doctors and nurses more than they used to. Also the techniques have got so much better, for example a patient used to come in for a hernia and stay a couple of days, it is now done as a day case.”

Jo has happy memories of her career, and she added: “I have worked with some fantastic people. You only get where you are from how you are taught and I have had some great people teach me.

“The staff I work with now are brilliant, I can ask them anything and they help me out.

“I have always had good banter with the patients. Even in day surgery you get regulars that you get to know quite well. I have always enjoyed day surgery as you get to meet more people. I’ve enjoyed all of it”

Chief Nursing Officer, Mark Radford said: “I would like to thank Jo for her fantastic dedication and commitment to helping patients in Coventry and Warwickshire for 45 years.”

Now Jo plans to use her retirement to travel with retired husband Dave, with holidays to Majorca and Tenerife booked for this year and a trip to Washington DC booked next year.