Hull grandma, 72, hangs up her nursing uniform for last time after 35 years

Pain management nursing auxiliary, Millie Riches, 72, has retired A Hull nurse who cared for patients for more than three decades has spoken of her career as she hangs up her uniform for the last time.

Auxiliary nurse Millie Riches, 72, has just retired and takes with her has a wealth of experience, memories and lasting friendships.

Ms Riches was part of Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s pain management team, working across East Riding Community Hospital and Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham . She spent the past nine years working as part of this close knit team, looking after people who need help with back pain, shoulder pain, and conditions such as sciatica and fibromyalgia.

But when Ms Riches first joined the hospital trust way back in 1984, she began in orthopaedics.

During her 35 year career, she has spent time in many other areas including elderly care, gynaecology, paediatrics and the eye clinic. “There’ aren’t many places I haven’t worked over the years”, she said.

The nurse, who lives in Hessle , has cared for hundreds if not thousands of people over the course of her career.

“I’ve always been a caring type of person so I’ve always been drawn to hospital roles. I may have dabbled in other jobs, but I’ve always come back to hospital life", said Mrs Riches. “I’ve worked in the Hull Royal tower block, at Princess Royal Hospital, in the IVF Unit and in the old Kingston General Hospital.

"In that time, I’ve met a lot of people – lots of patients come in very ill or depressed, so I’ve always seen it as my role to make them feel better.

“They say laughter is the best medicine and I’ve had so many laughs with patients over the years.

"I was once asked to go off the ward when I worked in gynaecology by the sister because I was making the women laugh too much, I literally had patients in stitches. Hull man loses 7st and reverses diabetes

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“But it’s also the little things that make people feel valued and cared for.

"When I worked in the elderly day centre at Kingston General, I could be doing anything from bathing a patient to cutting their nails or doing their hair.

"People often feel better inside if they’re presentable outside, and I used to love making people feel nice and comfortable – it really has been a lifelong passion of mine.”

When asked what she plans to do in retirement, there was no hesitation for Ms Riches. She said: “I’ll be asking to come back on the nurse bank.

“I really love my job, and I’m not just saying that. I’m proud to work for the hospital trust and I shall really miss the people that I work with and the patients that I see.

"I can’t sit down all day, I need to keep busy, so I’m still hoping to come back for a few hours a week.” Watch: Cataract operation at Hull and East Yorkshire Eye Hospital

Ms Riches has a partner, Kevin, two sons, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren with a third due any day now. “It will be nice to spend more time with the family”, she said. “I’ve always enjoyed cake decorating so that’s something I might look into again, I like bird watching, and I keep asking my partner for a dog, so maybe that’s something I can keep pestering him for.”

And when asked what advice she’d give to nursing staff just starting out in the profession, Ms Riches said: “You just need to get on with it. Be strong, take an interest in people, be your own person, and enjoy your work and your patients.

“If I could have my time again, I would do my full nurse training, but I really can’t complain as I’ve absolutely loved it, I’ve loved my time in the health service.”

And the scores of people who saw Ms Riches off at a special lunchtime gathering, who were current and former colleagues and family members, are testament to just how popular and how well respected this lady this.

There may be the odd tear of sadness in contrast to the many years of laughter, but her eyes will not be cloudy for long as no doubt she will be wanting to arrange her next shift. Follow Hull Live

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