Mary Everritt, Lead Nurse for the Tuberculosis Service with the Trust's Bedfordshire Community Health Service is celebrating forty years as a nurse with the NHS this year.
Mary started out as a student nurse in 1978, qualifying in 1981 then worked in theatres before moving onto elderly care and then into a community nurse setting. She began work in the TB service in the late 1990s and has stayed working in that specialism ever since.
Although the common viewpoint is that there has been a resurgence in TB in the UK in recent years, it is thanks to dedicated colleagues like Mary that there has actually been a marked decline, with an actual reduction of 30% in TB cases within England since 2013.
It says something about Mary’s dedication that her colleagues say it is sometimes hard to get hold of her – the reason being she is so focused on attending to the needs of patients or service users.
Colette Thomas, TB Clinical Nurse Specialist said: ‘It is a privilege to work alongside Mary and with such a dedicated team . It is hugely rewarding for all of us to see a patient who has been extremely ill with TB disease improve and return back to normal function and activity following their treatment.’
Claire Johnston, TB Administrator for Bedfordshire Community Service said that ‘ Mary’s role is unique. Not only is she enthusiastic, she wants to care for patients. She has traditional values, is passionate about what she does, and always goes above and beyond the call of duty.’
The role of a Lead Nurse in the TB service is demanding – with a need to liaise with a multitude of people in a wide range of settings; academically in terms of the needs of medical research, as well as necessary and important work in prisons, schools, nurseries as well as home settings.
But Mary’s most important rule throughout all of this has been to make sure that she and her team ‘share at least one decent belly laugh together every day!’
Picture, left - right: Colette, Mary & Claire in October, celebrating Mary's forty years of service.