IN 58 years of working for the NHS, health visitor and great-grandmother Pat Armitage has witnessed a lot of changes – and treated thousands of patients.
From computerised systems to the development of new treatments like reiki, Pat has thrown herself at everything which has come her way.
But after almost six decades and at least one previous ‘retirement’, she is finally leaving work next month.
The 73-year-old has worked as a health visitor at Thornton Medical Centre in Wortley for the past four years, with previous careers including practice nurse, school nurse and Macmillan nurse.
She said: “I just enjoy caring for people. It’s not been like a job to me really; it’s been something I’ve really enjoyed.
“There have been many changes and I can just about manage a computer, but the main thing I enjoy is caring for patients down at grassroots levels.”
Pat, who lives in Bramley, decided she wanted to become a nurse as a teenager, following in the footsteps of her aunt.
She went to Shropshire for her nursing training in 1953, returning to the city to work at Woodlands Orthopaedic Hospital in Rawdon.
After an appendix op in 1956, Pat took a break, during which she married husband Colin, 75, and gave birth to her son David, now 50.
She later became a nurse at a GP’s surgery in Wortley, before taking up a post as a school nurse. She held various jobs throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, including nursing home sister and matron, clinical nurse specialist and dental nurse.
In 1985, she became a Macmillan nurse and then worked as deputy hospice matron at Wheatfields Hospice.
More recently, Pat has developed skills in complementary therapies such as aromatherapy and massage.
Pat, who has 14 cats and three dogs, also plans to continue her animal welfare fundraising, as well as spend time with her three-month-old great-grandson Jack.
Dawn Lewis, operational lead for health visitors in west Leeds, said: “For us, Pat’s retirement is the end of an era really. She’s been around for such a long time that it’s quite a significant loss and I’m not sure we will ever replace her.”