2020 marks the international year of the Nurse, which gives us a chance to reflect on and celebrate the range and depth of this important profession. This week we said goodbye to Elaine McManus, after a 42 year-long career, with 23 years as a Practice educator at the Hospice. As retirement approached, we took the opportunity to ask Elaine to tell us a bit about her career and reflect on the changes and experiences she has seen over this time.

Elaine has been a Nurse since 1981, starting out working in Cardiology at Stobhill Hospital, when Nurses wore capes and starched hats. Over her career, she gained many extra qualifications and experiences, including Midwifery and Community Nursing. As a Senior Nurse, she really enjoyed supporting students, so decided to study for a Masters in Nursing so she could pursue lecturing and research roles.

Elaine has supported many students and staff whilst at Strathcarron and has been able to influence many changes in practice, particularly around supporting people to reflect on and develop their communication skills. She has seen the Nursing profession change, with many new roles and opportunities now available. When Elaine thinks back on her career, she recalls that she has seen lots of suffering, but importantly, she has also seen the strength of the human spirit and really appreciates the difference that the NHS and healthcare can make to people.

She believes that Nursing has a big part to play in this and that new opportunities for Nurses such as Advanced Nurse Practitioner roles are important developments for the profession going forward. Given her experience in nursing, Elaine felt that the following quote is particularly poignant: "A Nurse is someone who opens the eyes of the newborn and gently closes the eyes of a dying man. It is indeed the highest blessing to be the first and last to witness the beginning and end of life"