A 73-YEAR-OLD Bradford nurse says he has no plans to slow down, as he looks back on his 52-year career.

Steve Brotherhood, Clinical Team Leader at Cygnet Hospital Bierley, started nursing in 1969, at the age of 21, as a student nurse at Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire.

More than half a century later, he works at the low secure psychiatric intensive care service in Bradford, having joined Cygnet Health Care in 2009.

The average retirement age in the UK is 66 - but Steve says he's not planning his retirement any time soon. “I just enjoy what I’m doing, that is what keeps me going," he said. "It is the best thing in the world to see a service user’s recovery journey and help ill people get better. Nothing more than that - I just enjoy helping people.”

Added Steve: “I’m going to continue working as much as I can. The day I don’t get up in the morning will be my retirement day. Every morning I feel motivated and excited to go to work.”

Steve has worked at various professional healthcare settings, from care homes to mental health services, and is qualified as a mental health nurse and learning disability nurse.

Marking his 52nd year in nursing, he said he has witnessed many changes in the profession over the decades. “I came into nursing to help people and now there’s more paperwork than when I first started. But for me the job is about spending time with patients, helping them to get better. That’s what I prefer to do,” he said.

Looking back the coronavirus pandemic, and the challenges it has meant for the nursing profession, Steve said: “The last 16 months have been extremely challenging for patients as well as staff, and the beginning of the pandemic was especially tough.

"However, we did everything we could do to keep our patients and each other safe, and I have worked all the way through the pandemic. Fortunately, I haven’t been infected with Covid-19.”

Jo-Ann McAuliffe, Cygnet’s Regional Nurse Director for the North of England said: “In a year when the nursing profession has been so highly regarded throughout the pandemic, Cygnet Health Care is proud to have such a committed and dedicated nurse like Steve.

"There is a lot to be proud of in terms of what nurses achieve day in, day out to support our service users on their recovery journey. It takes dedication, resilience and compassion to be a nurse which Steve and our nurses show in abundance.”

There is currently a national shortage of nurses, particularly in mental health, and Steve is keen to encourage potential new recruits.

“I would say it’s a great career. It’s hard work but at the same time, it’s very rewarding," he said.

"I would recommend it to anyone who wants a career with job satisfaction.”

This month is Good Care Month, aimed at raising the profile of the social care sector and its career opportunities. Cygnet Health Care has provided a national network of specialised mental health services for the NHS and local authorities for 30 years, supporting people with complex mental health needs across the UK.