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45 years at Sheffield Children’s – Kathy’s story

Kathy Gracey
10 June 2020

Recently Sheffield Children’s celebrated Kathy Gracey, who retires after being a nurse at Sheffield Children’s for over 45 years. A well-loved and popular member of her team, Kathy will be dearly missed by all, as she closes the final chapter of her illustrious career within the NHS.

Kathy moved to England from Northern Ireland as a child in a family of 11. She initially started her career as a nursery nurse and although she enjoyed it, she didn’t find it challenging enough, and followed her tutor’s advice to go into nursing. Despite her initial reservations, Kathy embraced the challenge and applied to Nursing School in Sheffield. To continue her training, she joined Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

“The first time I put on my uniform, it felt like I had finally cracked it and come to where I belong. I love Sheffield, I still remember the feeling I got the first time I ever came here. As soon as I stepped off the train in the station, seeing the city for the first time, meeting such nice people, the aura of the place… it just felt like home.”

Kathy has been a part of the Emergency Department team for 40 years, as well as being a ward manager, nurse practitioner and Bed Manager. Her roles and vast experience have been vital to delivering high quality care and supporting the development of nurses within the team.

“I always wanted to be a role model, to support and help others through their careers. I was always inspired by the generation of nurses before me. They set the standard that said our patients deserve the best care and we expect the best of the best with no compromise. Having the opportunity to train and develop the nurses of tomorrow is something I am really proud of.

“I’ve been here for 45 years and I would do it all again because I love my job. We get to care for patients every day and help them get better, what can be more rewarding than that? It’s the best job ever, the best place to work where we have a voice and a supportive chief executive and matrons who listen to us and act on what we say.”

“The most significant change I’ve seen over the years is in nurses training and their overall role. Nurses have a more prominent role and contribute more in deciding about the care we deliver and a voice in how children should be looked after. The culture within the training has changed for the better.”

We asked Kathy what’s next for her now that she’s retiring, she replied: “I’m a sociable person so I can see myself going on lots of holidays, once we’re allowed to and spending time with my two daughters. Being part of the nurse’s league, I keep in touch with former nurses and mentors who were my inspiration, so hopefully I will plan to meet up with them for a coffee sometime in the future. I will also be on the panel for the DAISY Awards scheme, so it will be able to keep in touch with former colleagues from the Trust”.

“I take with me lots of happy memories, working alongside inspirational people, looking after lovely children and enjoying every day spent helping others. However one of my favourite memories was having the opportunity to meet and have lunch with Princess Diana at the opening of the ICU in 1989, I still remember that day fondly”.

Everyone at Sheffield Children’s would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Kathy for everything and wish her all the best in her well-deserved retirement.

Thank you Kathy!

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