May 31st, 2016
A Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ Clinical Nurse Specialist, retiring after four decades’ service, says she will miss the kindness of patients.
Ruth Frizzell, who has been based at St Luke’s Hospital, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has served as the Trust’s Lead Nurse for the Tuberculosis (TB) Service – a post she took up originally for just six months.
Ruth, who lives in Bingley, came to Bradford – to the city’s Royal Infirmary – in 1976, to work with the midwifery team. Originally from Paisley, Scotland, she began her nursing training at Glasgow’s Western Infirmary in 1972, followed by a year working in acute medicine before moving south to Yorkshire.
“I must admit I wasn’t even sure where Bradford was at the time but I’ve obviously enjoyed it because I’ve never moved away!” she said.
After a year in midwifery, she then took up a staff nurse post on Ward 15 (Oncology ) before becoming a junior sister on Ward D2 (Cardiology and Gastro) at St Luke’s Hospital; D2 was then to become Ward 5 at BRI. Ruth was made a senior sister in 1982.
She remained on Ward 5, working in general medicine and with a variety of consultants until 1994 until a “chance remark” led to her working with the TB service.
“Someone suggested it was a job I would enjoy and so I took it - although originally it was just for six months! When I started there was just me but now we have a full team.”
Ruth reveals that she has seen many changes over the years including improvements to new entrant screening and treatment for latent TB, as well as DOT (directly observed therapy) supervised treatment.
“One of the things I’ve done is try to work hours to suit the patient. Most of the work we do is in the community with follow ups and screening visits in the home, and you have to work around the patient so it’s important that the work we do is patient-friendly.
“I have to say it’s been a very enjoyable job because it has allowed me to meet people from all over the world, from different cultures and ethnicities, and the community has been incredibly hospitable to us. I will miss my many work colleagues but I will really miss the patients too.
“I have spent many happy years sitting chatting with lovely people. The kindness of patients definitely keeps you going.”
Bradford’s TB service was set up in the 1950s in response to the number of immigrants coming to live in the city. The number of cases of TB averages 150 per year but due to improved screening techniques figures are falling. There were 99 cases in 2015.
In 2006, Ruth was the recipient of a hospital ‘Oscar’ for ‘going the extra mile.’
A farewell lunch was organised by colleagues, Gillian Hollingsworth and Jeanne Poblacion and held at BRI’S Listening for Life centre: “It was a lovely occasion and a chance to get together with past colleagues too,” she said.
Ruth now intends to travel and catch up with her family, as well as spend more time gardening and decorating.