A nurse whose career began at Lostock Hall Continuation Hospital – now the site of St Catherine’s Hospice – returned to her hometown from Canada and was amazed to see how much her first workplace has changed!
Brenda Carter (nee Marlow), spent a year at the continuation hospital in Lostock Lane as a pre-nursing student when she was 17.
“You started your official training when you were a bit older, but it was a good way to get people interested in a career in nursing,” she explains. “It was a good opportunity to get hands-on experience too. I remember there was a matron, two sisters, a couple of staff nurses, and lots of us ‘trainees’. We carried out basic care and nursing while they supervised.”
Brenda, who grew up in Preston, has fond memories of the ‘amazing’ food, including the weekly Sunday roast.
“We lived on the top floor,” she says. “We had high spirits. It was strict but also very homely.”
Brenda, a mum-of-two and grandma-of-four, went on to become an emergency and critical care nurse, and nurse practitioner in Canada. She also worked in Florida and New Jersey in America, where she says the hospice movement is still relatively new.
During a visit to the UK recently to see family and friends, she called in to St Catherine’s and visited the hospice’s chapel, where the windows and ceiling are original features and a section of the old wall covering has been preserved from when the room was the Chapel Ward at the time Brenda worked at the hospital.
“My time at the continuation hospital provided a very good grounding for me,” she says. “I’m surprised by how much it’s changed because it was just fields surrounding the building. The hospice is much more a part of the community now and it’s a lovely atmosphere.”
The top floor of the hospice building, where Brenda’s room was, is now used as office space for the charity’s fundraisers, lottery team, communications department, finance, trading, and commercial catering staff.