A PAEDIATRIC nurse will retire after clocking up an amazing 50 years working in the NHS.

Jennifer Smith is 65 and decided to end her long nursing career at the Royal Blackburn Hospital at the end of January.

Mrs Smith started out as a cadet nurse at Burnley General Hospital.

After qualifying, her career began at Blackburn Royal Infirmary in 1970 where she started in intensive care before switching to the paediatric ward.

She said: “I have had a lovely send-off with all staff and friends past and present.

“Things have changed since I first started, technology is so big now. I am not as quick as the younger girls at using it.

“Three years ago, I would have said I am not going yet, but now I feel ready.

“It has been amazing working with the other nurses at Blackburn, and if I ever have a bad day, once I go onto my night shift and see to the needs of the parents and the babies, I feel better because it’s nice to talk.”

Nursing runs in the family line as her daughter, Alexandra Harrison followed in her footsteps and worked alongside her as a nurse on the same ward doing night shifts for a number of years.

Mrs Smith’s own mum was also a district nurse in Accrington, and her mother-in-law was a midwife.

Mrs Harrison said: “Nursing was always being talked about in our house, because so many of our family members went into it. I still remember my mum getting ready for her shifts and in the 80s they had hats so they would put that on too.

“I think she realised that 50 years is a good time to leave and feels she has done enough years and wants to focus on other things.”

Helen Campbell, matron for the children’s ward at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital, said: “Fifty years working as an NHS nurse is an incredible achievement. It takes a lot of dedication, loyalty and loving what you do.

"I want to wish Jen a very happy retirement and thank her for everything she has done for the trust over the years and her dedication caring for our young patients.”

Mrs Smith’s husband died of cancer in 2016, and both she and her daughter cared for him.

The retiring nurse, who lives in Blackburn, is now looking forward to her rest.

She said: “I am going to do some decorating and will go on holiday with my son to Amsterdam, Berlin and Vienna.

“I’m looking forward to a winter where I will not have to shovel my way out to get to work.

“But I loved seeing the babies, it’s my favourite part of the job. I’m going to miss seeing them.”