A long-serving nurse has called time on her career after almost four decades serving the people of West Cumbria.

Julie Hall has worked at West Cumberland Hospital for the past 36 years since the age of 19, but left the NHS this week to start her well-earned retirement.

Completing her training at the hospital and never leaving after that, Julie has seen plenty of changes – “some good, some bad” she said – along the way.

Julie, who also undertook her nursing degree in 2014 and became a ward sister in 2002, explained what she has loved about her job.

She said: “I love looking after people, and seeing them get well again – it doesn’t happen with everyone.

“I love the teamwork with the girls on the ward; you couldn’t get through it all without them. There’s good days and bad days.

“I love caring for patients – and their relatives; sometimes the relatives are the ones that need help!

“I won’t miss the 5.15am get-ups in the morning, but I will miss the work, the patients and the staff.

“It’s been my life since I was 19. You can’t come into it and not love it; it’s hard work.”

Julie has faced many challenges during her years of service but the last 12 months have been particularly tough.

She added: “It’s been really hard this last year with Covid and lockdowns. We were part of the Covid ward.

“I work with a really good team on ward one, really good teamwork.

"I’m proud of them all; we’ve worked well together, particularly this last 12 months.”

Julie now plans to travel along with her husband, Stuart, who worked in the council offices in Penrith.

Coincidentally, the couple actually happened to retire on the same day.

Julie added: “We’ve got plans to go travelling. Hopefully, when things reopen we can go abroad, but for now we’re going to see a bit more of our own country.

We’re off down to Devon and Cornwall – we’ve never been that far down.”

A spokesman for North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “A big goodbye and happy retirement to Julie Hall, who is leaving after 36 years’ service.

“She has been a big part of the team at West Cumberland Hospital for a number of years and will be missed by all.”