AFTER a career spanning 37 years, one of the most senior members of hospital staff in the north of Hampshire has called it a day.

Donna Green, chief nurse at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, retired from her role on Thursday, 27 years after first stepping through the doors of Basingstoke hospital and 37 years after first starting training.

In that time, Donna has seen the world of healthcare change, with huge strides forward in how illness and injury is treated.

Donna said: “The NHS is always political and it’s always challenged in terms of money. That hasn’t changed, but the level of regulations has certainly increased from when I was a student.

“What has changed is the technology and the research and the skills and expertise of our medical and nursing workforce. When I was a student nurse, what you would consider now a pretty normal operation would have you in for a week but now it is a job in a day.

“For example, a few years ago I had a back operation. When I was a student, I would ave been on my back for six weeks after but now you are up in a day.

“But that brings complexity as therefore the expert’s knowledge and skills run ever deeper.

“The reason why people come into the NHS hasn’t changed though. It sounds trite but they are here to make a difference. It is not just the medical and nursing staff but it the whole wider team - the porters, receptionists, kitchen staff - that want to make a difference.

“They all play a really important role in that big team and our non-clinical staff are just as important as our clinical staff. I am constantly amazed by the impact our non-clinical staff make to a patient as they can often be the one speaking to patients for long periods of time.

“They also show, in my role, the value of listening to staff. I remember speaking to a porter who told us a way we could change how we look after patients and they were absolutely right, so we changed it.”

Donna worked her way up from a student nurse in the Midlands in 1981 to taking on a senior management post in the year 2000 and her career path has shaped her approach to her role now.

She added: “I was fortunate in my career that somebody spotted me and I want to bring that to bear in what I did. We have to give people the right skills and support to ensure they can develop. If we do that, it helps the patients.”

When asked what she will miss most about the role, Donna said: “Definitely the people. We have three amazing organisations and amazing people working at them that are inspiring.”

It is not complete retirement for Donna - she will be working with the Point of Care Foundation which works to improve the way people are cared for and to support the staff who deliver care and has applied to be a panel member at the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

But she added that there will also be more holidays and more time with family to come as well.

Reflecting on stepping back from her role, Donna added: “I have been overwhelmed by everyone’s lovely messages and there has been some that have come from unexpected places. It has been overwhelming.”