Jean Colclough is possibly the longest serving nurse that the UK has ever seen. Now 74 years old, Jean started working at Southend Hospital in 1956, and has clocked up 56 years since.
When she started she was on a modest salary of £260 per year. She has said that she is only retiring for pension reasons and is keen to carry on working in some capacity, and may work as a bank nurse or agency nurse, filling in whenever needed.
Jean qualified as a nurse in 1960 but her career quickly came to a sudden halt when she developed bronchiectasis, a disease that is often fatal. Bronchiectasis is an irreversible dilation of part of the bronchial tree caused by destruction of the muscle and elastic tissue. The result is similar to that of emphysema – the lungs are permanently damaged and air flow restricted. He received treatment at the London Chest Hospital, however, her condition was so severe that her doctor informed her that she was unlikely to live beyond the age of 40 years.
She originally planned to train as a doctor but her family could not afford to send her to medical school. However, she has always been happy with her chosen career path as a nurse and feels that she really has done the best with her life as was possible.
Sandra Steeples who works as the discharge coordinator at Southend Hospital said that Jean will be greatly missed by so many people. Currently researchers have not been able to find any evidence of a longer serving nurse anywhere in the UK.
We wish Jean Colclough many happy years in retirement.