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NHS 75! Bev’s story: 40+ years in theatres

A woman is standing wearing blue scrubs, a white hair mask and glasses. There is blue triangle shaped artwork on the wall behind her.
06 July 2023

Can you remember the last time you listened to Dancing Queen or any other track of Abba’s? For our scrub nurse Bev it was in theatre recently during surgery after a patient requested Abba tunes to help bring some comfort to them during their procedure.

Providing comfort and advocating for patients during surgery is something Bev has been doing for over 40 years at Sheffield Children’s and as we celebrate NHS 75 we’re saying a big thank you to the special people like Bev who have helped make a difference for children, young people, families and colleagues.

Bev joined Sheffield Children’s in 1982 after she’d qualified as an enrolled nurse and she remembers celebrating her 21st birthday with colleagues shortly after! Four decades later, Bev is now one of our longest-standing members of staff and has supported thousands of children and young people over the years.

There’s been lots of changes in that time and the number of theatres we have at Sheffield Children’s has tripled in the 40 years Bev has been here, from three to nine! The increase in theatres is thanks to the growing specialities and more complex surgeries we’ve been able to provide, including dental, neurology, gastroenterology, orthopaedics, and more. New theatres has meant moving to different parts of the hospital over the years, and that meant that Bev and her colleagues had to say goodbye to the terrace they used to knit on together at lunch times many years ago – a skill Bev wasn’t expecting to learn when she joined the NHS!

Bev is now a great source of support for newer colleagues who have joined Sheffield Children’s, although she’s yet to get the knitting needles out for them!

Bev said: “As a scrub nurse you spend nearly all of your working days in theatre. My main responsibilities are assisting the surgeons with the instruments and the swabs they need, and making sure that everything is accounted for before, during, and after procedures. Sometimes patients are awake during surgery so I’ve also spent a lot of time talking and helping distract patients so they’re not worried – that’s where the music comes in!”

“I’ve been here a long time now and my experience means I also support newer members of the team by guiding and teaching them during surgery. I still scrub up most of the time and some of my favourite surgeries to be involved with are leg lengthening and limb reconstruction. Professor Saleh, who has now retired, and Mr Fernandez have both been pioneers around this surgery and so I’ve be able to do a lot of work with taylor spatial frames and Ilizarov frames – they are both external frames that have struts and rods on them and allow for some adjustment as the patient grows. I also really like hip rotations!”

A career in the NHS was something that Bev aspired to when she was younger because it was an exciting career for life – exactly what Bev has achieved.

Bev said: “It’s amazing that the NHS is still here after Bevan first set out his vision in 1948. Celebrating 75 years shows that we are a growing service that is very much needed.”

Thank you for all you’ve done over the years, Bev!

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