STORIES like that of Celia McIlvenny is what the Pride in Mann awards are all about. The 80-year-old has worked in nursing since 1948, and still works hard for three shifts a week at Noble’s Hospital.
It’s Celia’s special place in the hearts of both patients and staff that caused colleague Jenni Le Geyt to nominate her in the customer service category.
This isn’t Celia’s first tast of the limelight, as last month her 80th birthday celebrations even attracted the cameras of the BBC.
Jenni has worked with Celia at Noble’s for the past eight years.
‘She’s still running around the ward! She’s as fit as you like. She works hard, and runs rings around the younger ones!’ said Jenni.
‘She’s caring, and she also tells you how it is. The staff love her, the patients love her. Everyone in the hospital knows Celia.’
Celia, who lives in Brunswick Road, Douglas, grew up in Worthenbury, near Wrexham, and says she always wanted to be a nurse.
She moved to Llandudno in North Wales when she was 16 to work as an ancillary at the cottage hospital there. She worked under Matron Briggs and when she moved to the island and called for Celia, Celia was happy to go too.
Celia started her nursing training at 18 – the minimum age. She has now been in the job for more than 60 years, and today works as a healthcare assistant at Noble’s Hospital at least three morning shifts a week.
‘In those days, when I started, it was a real vocation,’ she said. ‘You stuck with it!’
Celia said keeping fit is a major part of her longevity, often walking about three to four miles a day with her dog, in rain sleet or snow.
What does she think is the secret of a good relationship with patients?
‘It’s empathy, understanding,’ said Celia. ‘I just do it I suppose. I just love my job. It’s good for me too, keeps me going’
She added: ‘You just have to keep your own emotions to yourself, but still show sympathy and understanding.
You can have a laugh with your patients too, they like that. It’s part of a nurse’s job to make people feel comfortable.’
Celia managed to raise £1,500 in lieu of presents for her 80th birthday, and is also a key organiser of the annual nurses’ reunion night.
Jenni added: ‘She’s old school, she’s very thorough. She’s been in the NHS since it started! She’s glamorous too, she’s an inspiration to keep going.’
Nominations for this year’s Pride in Mann awards have now closed.