Our longest serving nurse – Eve is our NHS Hero

Last weekend, we celebrated International Nurse’s Day, which takes place on 12 May every year – the birthday of inspirational nurse, Florence Nightingale.

So it’s only right that our NHS Hero this week is the longest serving nurse at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust – Eve McDermott, who has an amazing 35 years’ service.

Born in Zimbabwe, Eve came to England when she was 19, to live with her brother who was studying nursing. Whilst living in Leeds, she decided to follow in his footsteps and started a nursing course at St. James’s University Hospital.

“I enjoyed my studies in Leeds, but I had lots of friends who lived in Birmingham, so I decided to move to the Midlands.

“I trained as a registered mental health nurse at All Saints Hospital in Birmingham and worked there as a staff nurse for two years before taking up the role of deputy ward sister at Burton Road Hospital. I moved to Bushey Fields Hospital as a ward manager when Burton Road hospital closed in the early 90s.”

Eve now works as a team manager in the Dudley North Community Recovery Service, where she oversees a multidisciplinary team (social workers, occupational therapists, community psychiatric nurses, healthcare assistants) who support patients at The Poplars.

“A typical day sees us supporting patients who are presenting for outpatient appointments, physical health checks and appointments with their care coordinators.

“Although my role is overseeing the team, I still do have contact with patients who may present without an appointment or those that are in crisis – I enjoy still having contact with a variety of different patients.”

Eve says that her career highlights are completing a BSC honours in nursing and then a master in advanced nursing practice at Birmingham City University.

“I worked so hard for these qualifications – it’s a priceless sense of achievement.”

So what does Eve enjoy most about her role?

“Mental health nursing brings different challenges each and every day, and that’s what I love. Every day is unique and tests you in different ways.

“I also enjoy listening to younger nurses, who tell me some of the things I have taught them and it makes my day when a service user tells me they appreciate the care they have received.”

Outside of work, Eve enjoys travelling, watching documentaries, going to the cinema and spending time in her garden.

Eve’s own heroes are Mary Seacole and Nelson Mandela.

She said: “Mary Seacole was a black nurse and is a massive inspiration to me. Nelson Mandela is so admirable – he spent years isolated and then came out to be president without showing any bitterness.”

Eve’s message to the next generation of nurses is: “Strive for academic excellence – always view education as unfinished business – that is the best way to drive standards.”