Camelon nurse looks back on five decades in her dream role

Practice nurse Margaret Briggs
Practice nurse Margaret Briggs

A practice nurse who spent more than half of her five-decade-long NHS career in Camelon insists nursing was the only profession she ever considered pursuing.

Margaret Briggs (67) worked with patients of Camelon Medical Practice for 28 years.

And despite taking retirement a few years ago, her passion for her job saw Margaret return to serve the NHS after just four weeks.

She now devotes her three-day working week to a travel clinic, covering both Camelon and Bonnybridge, and Airthrey Park Medical Centre in Stirling.

Margaret, who began working for the NHS aged 16, is well-qualified to analyse the transformation of the service as it prepares to mark its 70th anniversary on July 5.

The former psychiatric nurse, who lives in Camelon, said: “It’s 50 years-plus I’ve worked for the NHS as I started in the kitchen with my mum just a year before my training.

“The biggest change is the way nurses’ education is delivered. We no longer train in hospitals, we’re educating in universities. Registered nurses are more managerial and less hands-on in certain parts of the work. But in general, practices nurses now do much more, like prescribing medicine.”

Making the decision to go back to her role after a month’s retirement was simple for Margaret.

She says the main reason for her change of heart was the day-in, day-out interaction with the people she looked after.

Margaret explained: I missed it. It keeps me busy and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

“There was never a day where I thought, ‘Oh my God! I have to go to work’. The patients are the best part of the job. We are very privileged in our position to know the patients in some of their most joyous, and difficult, times.

“It can be difficult but that’s what we’re there for. If nursing is for you, it’s the best job in the world. I just want to thank all of the patients in Camelon for putting up with me for all of this time.”