Nurses celebrate 60th anniversary

Nurses celebrate 60th anniversary

22 June 2022

LOCAL nurses who worked at the Ulster Hospital joined many former colleagues recently for a special celebration marking its 60th anniversary.

Almost 200 nurses took part in the event to mark the Dundonald hospital’s major milestone with many of those from across the district delighted to meet up with old friends and reminisce.

The Ulster first opened its doors as a hospital for Women and Sick Children in 1872 and was initially located on Chichester Street in Belfast, but later moved to Templemore Avenue in Mountpottinger in 1892.

In 1962, it was relocated to Dundonald and renamed the Ulster Hospital where it remains today.

To mark the hospital’s 60th anniversary, a group of nurses who trained together, lived together and worked together, reunited for an afternoon tea event that provided an opportunity for many to chat and reminisce of their years working and training at the Ulster.

The afternoon also provided the chance for many to reconnect and share special memories, especially as some nurses who attended had travelled from from afar as Canada.

A Facebook group called ‘Ulster Hospital Nurses’ was created in 2015 by former nurse, Frances Gilmore which now has over 300 members and this provided an opportunity to share information on the afternoon event for many former nursing staff of the hospital. 

Anybody who has trained, previously worked or is currently a nurse in the Ulster Hospital can join the group.

Former nurse Frances Gilmore described the afternoon as a “great success” in marking the Ulster Hospital anniversary.

“The reunion event was a great celebration to acknowledge the hospital has been on the current site for 60 years now,” she said.

“It was lovely to see so many former nurses come together who trained and lived on the current site. The event also provided us with a chance to reconnect and share some special memories that we still hold dear.”

Frances said she was thrilled that some nurses travelled from across the world to take part in the “wonderful celebration.”

Eileen Ardis, a former paediatric nursing sister who started her career in 1962, said taking part in the anniversary was one of the best days in her life since she started nursing as she was able to meet up with so many former colleagues. 

“I feel very honoured and fortunate to have worked in the Ulster Hospital,” she added.

Ms Nikki Patterson, the South Eastern Trust’s deputy chief executive and director of nursing, primary care and older people, described 60 years’ of nursing at the Ulster Hospital as an “incredible milestone.

She added: “In 1996, I took up post as ward sister in the medical assessment unit in the hospital and was fortunate to work alongside some wonderful nurses.  Here at the Ulster Hospital, we are one big family and are incredibly fortunate to have the nurses that we do.   

“I would like to thank all those nursing staff, both current and former, who have contributed over the years.”