Three Lanarkshire sisters celebrate combined 100 years of service to nursing

Three Lanarkshire sisters are celebrating 100 years of healthcare service between them this year.

Nurses Jean Daly, Roz Kerr, and Arlene Watson all grew up in Bothwell and have dedicated their careers to helping others.

They say the profession must run in their blood as they mark a combined century of service.

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Longest-serving and trailblazing nurse in the family, Roz, 58, officially retired three years ago, but came back into the service to support her siblings and pass on her knowledge to new staff, working two days per week to help look after patients in surgery.

She currently works between the Wishaw General and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH).

And eldest sister Jean, 62, joined the healthcare service in 1993, working first as a domestic before moving into nursing in 2004, where she now works as a healthcare clinical assistant in an elderly care ward in Motherwell.

Arlene, 48, began training in 1991 and she and Roz have now clocked up an average of 30 years of nursing each and are still going strong on the frontline.

Roz, who now lives in Hamilton, told Lanarkshire Live : “Clearly nursing runs in our blood somewhere. For me, it was an easy decision to come back part-time to use all the skills I’ve learned over the years, particularly now during the pandemic.”

Roz began training as a nurse in 1981 and followed 10 years later by youngest sister Arlene.

Arlene said: “I remember when Roz would be studying and I’d read her nursing books when I was around eight or nine and I knew I wanted to be a nurse.

“I didn’t know I’d end up in theatre but I fell in love with the speciality.”

Working as a trauma nurse at the QEUH, Arlene can see anything from someone with a broken finger right through to a major car crash patient flown in by helicopter.

She added: “Despite the challenges, I love the job and I always say that to students. While the job is hard, it gives me huge satisfaction and that’s why we do it.

“Our job is practical. You see people get fixed.”

Reflecting on nursing and its role in the pandemic, Jean said: “It has been an extremely difficult time over pandemic for patients and staff.

“In an elderly ward it can be very frightening for patients. We have had to become their family in place of their loved ones.

“Throughout we look after our patients with dignity and understanding. I still love the job. It’s always a pleasure to help someone in this way.”

On working through the pandemic, each sister pointed to having kindred spirits in one another to confide in and support throughout.

Roz summed up: “We understand each other’s jobs incredibly well – which has been an amazing mini-support network throughout our careers, and particularly through the pandemic.

“While we were unable to see each other at home during the height of the pandemic, I was able to work alongside my sister Arlene so we could keep in touch and make sure we were all ok.”

Throughout their long and shared career paths, they’ve seen many changes in the health service but the underlying principles have always remained the same – putting the patient first in all elements of their care.

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Daily Record – Motherwell