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INTERVIEW


By the Dart INTERVIEW


RICHARD DANCKWERTS


NURSE AT DARTMOUTH HOSPITAL I


f you have bashed, cut or cracked yourself in the town of Dartmouth in the last twenty


years, then there is a good chance you will have come into contact with Richard Danckwerts, nurse for Dartmouth hospital and specifically for the Minor Injuries Unit there. He is a hard working, conscientious nurse who loves to help. But as he approaches retirement


in January, Richard revealed that he nearly had a completely different career. “I’m quite an introverted, bookish


person really,” he said, in one of the few quiet times he enjoyed during the day I visited him. “I studied English at University and expected to end up in some academic position. But then I discovered nursing and found I loved helping other people.” Born in Sevenoaks in Kent in 1954,


the young Richard studied English at Exeter University. He moved home after his studies and got a role teach- ing English in Egypt. “I absolutely loved it,” he said. “But


I wasn’t any good at it! I came home in 1980 and saw an advert for an auxiliary nurse at my local hospital. I tried it and was absolutely hooked from day one. “At that point in my life I didn’t


know what I was going to do with myself and i found that i just fitted


the role perfectly. I was a very shy person, but found as a nurse I was liberated, happy and fulfilled. i found that by helping other people I was actually helping myself. If I made other people feel good, feel better, I felt good about myself. It is the most satisfying job you could imagine.” Richard went to study in Edinburgh


and stayed for six years – he then travelled a bit further for his next role. “I went to work in Australia for


two years,” he said. “I lived in Sydney and just loved it. It’s a wonderful


When I have been working the night shift here and seen dawn out of the window it is simply magical.


country and city in which to live. However, my mother became ill, so I returned to England and worked in Sussex. It was here I met my partner Angela White. We moved to Dartmouth in 1992 and soon after I started to work at Dartmouth Hospital.” Dartmouth has been Richard’s


work base for two decades and he said he could not have been in a bet- ter home. “I’m a very lucky man, “ he said.


“I’m fortunate to work in a beautiful hospital in a beautiful town. I think you would be hard pressed to find a hospital with a more fabulous view


anywhere in the world. When I have been working the night shift here and seen dawn out of the window it is simply magical. “But there is much more than this that makes Dartmouth a great hospital – we provide a very high level of care here. We are at the heart of the community both geographically and emotionally. The people we treat are our friends, neighbours and relatives. People know you and appreciate what you do. We are right there and ready to help whatever the problem. “We will look at and help anyone with a medical problem, nothing is too much trouble and I’m proud to work in a place with that positive and kind attitude. No injury is trivial to the person who is suffering. I say to the student nurses who come here that there are no trivial injuries and no trivial people. I truly believe that no person is boring. If you talk to them and truly listen and appreciate them, they are fascinating. That’s why I love nursing: I get to meet and talk to incredibly interesting people all day every day. And I get to help them get better!” Richard said he will be sad to leave


not only the hospital but the tight-knit group of healthcare professionals that work there.


“The team are an incredible bunch of people,” he said. “Again I feel lucky to work with such a talented and dedicated team of nurses , who are able to deliver high quality care, and also they have all become such good friends over the years. It is going to be tough to leave!”•


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