Glynis set to sign off after half a century of nursing

A Doncaster nurse who has dedicated her entire working life to caring for vulnerable people is preparing to hang up her uniform, marking the end of a 50 year long career.

Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 12:17 pm

Glynis Smith, aged 67, retires this month as Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust’s (RDaSH) Learning Disabilities Acute Liaison Nurse, exactly five decades after starting out as a nurse cadet in her native north-east

Glynis followed her mum and grandad into learning disability care, with all three generations of the family working at County Durham’s Aycliffe Hospital at one time. It was there she met future husband Derek and the couple married in 1975.

Career moves to Horsham, West Sussex, and Boston, Lincolnshire followed before Glynis moved to what is now RDaSH’s Tickhill Road, Balby, site as a Senior Sister in 1996. Her current post involves supporting Doncaster people who have a learning disability when they go to Doncaster Royal Infirmary for planned and unplanned care and outpatient appointments.

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Glynis Smith

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Glynis came up with the idea of introducing learning disability health ‘passports’ in Doncaster, which patients now take with them to appointments and when admitted to hospital. They help make the experience as comfortable as possible for people who have difficulty communicating their thoughts and feelings, using a ‘traffic light’ system. Red pages list important medical information, amber ones are for mobility, diet and communication, and green ones capture their likes, dislikes and interests.

“Our patients also wear a special red, amber and green wristband to indicate to health professionals, like paramedics, that they have a passport, said Glynis..

“Looking back on my nursing career, learning disability services have transformed beyond recognition since I started in 1972, with large hospital institutions being replaced by care in the community, enabling people to live in normal homes with appropriate support.

“Making the decision at age 17 to work with people with learning disabilities is the best I’ve made apart from marrying Derek. I’ve had a wonderful career, doing a job I’ve loved, which has been so rewarding.”

Away from work, Glynis was elected a Councillor for Doncaster Council’s Hatfield Ward in 2021, winning the seat vacated by husband Derek. The couple, who live at Dunsville, have three children and six grandchildren.

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