MKUH@40 Stories

Carole Clarke

Nurse Carole Clarke has vivid memories of the opening of MKUH – stepping on to the brand new orthopaedic ward with its gleaming new beds and equipment, green walls and brown carpet.‘Those first couple of weeks, it was just the nurses on the ward, getting ready for the hospital to open,’ recalls Carole. ‘The healthcare assistants started a couple of weeks later. We did lots of practical things before the first patients arrived, like preparing beds and we also went out to visit care homes and get to know the local area as many of us were new to Milton Keynes.’
Carole, who took early retirement in summer 2023, still does two or three bank shifts caring for trauma and orthopaedic patients. She chose to remain a staff nurse rather than rise through the ranks to management.

‘I just love caring for patients. Back in the 1980s, patients often stayed in hospital a lot longer than they do today so as nurses we really got to know them as people. Over the years, I have also mentored many student nurses, which is immensely rewarding as you see them go on to develop their careers.’
Carole did her nursing training in her home town of Banbury and went on to work at Northampton General Hospital. She married her late husband Chris in 1982 and when they heard the building of a new hospital was underway in Milton Keynes, they set their hearts on moving to the new city.
‘We had our lives ahead of us and the attraction of working in a brand new, purpose-built hospital was really exciting,’ says Carole. ‘Many of the staff moved to the area to work here like I did, so it was wonderful to be right there at the beginning.’

Carole has watched the hospital and its facilities grow with the population.‘Of course, the hospital has had to expand to cater for the needs of the people who live here and it’s still a friendly place. When I started, it was a fraction of the size it is today and there was a real sense of us all being at the start of a new era. People were so pleased that they had a hospital on their doorstep at last,’ she adds.


Beverley Glasspool

Beverley Glasspool joined the staff of MKUH in August 1984 fresh from college, having completed her secretarial training at the Bletchley Campus of MK College. She started as a shorthand typist, then became a personal assistant to the medical records manager and worked in the general office before moving to Paediatrics in 1993, where she has been ever since.
She currently works in a close-knit team of six patient pathway coordinators who are responsible for ensuring that the patients of the hospital’s 14 paediatric consultants get to the care and services they need . They include Sandra Davis and Susan Rene, who also joined the Trust in its very early days.

‘We were all at college studying for secretarial roles around the same time,’ says Beverley. ‘Of course, it was very different back then. To begin with there were no computers, only electric typewriters and we used a special liquid called Tippex to cover up any typing mistakes! One of our most treasured items was the medical dictionary – I used to consult mine all the time when typing up patient letters. There was no internet or google, so the medical dictionary was a must to ensure we spelt everything correctly.’ Without email, there was also a lot more running about the site to check things like the availability of clinic rooms. In the early days, Beverley’s job title was medical secretary and she sat near the consultants.’ That worked really well as if you had a query, you could just ask there and then, whereas now space is at such a premium we tend to communicate via email,’ says Beverley.

The role of patient pathway coordinator is considerably more complex than the original role of the medical secretary. ‘’We are responsible for job plans, organising clinics, and often moving clinics around when consultant availability changes unexpectedly. We have a considerable amount of patient contact too via phone calls and emails. And with our speciality being paediatrics, there is often a lot of compassionate listening required as parents are often very anxious about their child.’ Sandra met Beverley on her first day in the Trust and got to know Sue soon afterwards. ‘We’ve almost grown up together – we’ve all worked here since the 1980s, had our children and come back again. We’re a very close-knit team and have seen so many changes since the early days,’ says Sandra. Sue adds: ‘Obviously, the biggest change has been the growth of the hospital and the increasing number of patients we deal with as people settled down and had their families in Milton Keynes. As a patient pathway coordinator, no two days are the same and we are always busy as new patients are coming through all the time.’


Last Modified: 8:43am 10/07/2024