As a long-serving nurse retires, it marks the end of a unique family affair at the University of North Tees.
63-year-old Chris Kemp is today saying a fond farewell as she retires after 47 years in the NHS. But this isn’t the end for the Kemp family as she is succeeded by her three daughters at the hospital where she has served 13 years.
Chris, originally from Hartlepool and now living in Hartburn, began her career as a cadet nurse in 1975. Upon earning her qualifications in 1980, she took up the role of staff nurse at Hartlepool General Hospital, as it was known at the time, earning £4,198 a year.
She was promoted to sister on ward 11 aged just 23 and continuously progressed from there. She is today retiring from her long career in the NHS, having spent her last 13 years at the University Hospital of North Tees as matron of ward 33.
And her daughters have all followed in her footsteps. They have taken up positions in nursing and the allied health profession at the same hospital.
Chris works alongside daughters – bariatric specialist nurse Nicole Thomas, ward matron Alex Higgins and occupational therapist Victoria Kemp.
Chris said: “My role has evolved massively and I still love it. What I enjoy most is coming to work and keeping staff morale up so I’ll definitely miss the comradery of the team.
“I’ll miss the patients as well. I just hope I’ve made a difference – that’s all I can wish for.
“I’ve just enjoyed being a nurse. I’m proud to be a nurse.”
A well-deserved retirement party
Chris enjoyed an early retirement party on Monday 21 November where she was showered with cards, gifts and love from her colleagues – new and old.
Speaking at Chris’ retirement party, head of nursing for collaborative care Fiona McEvoy said: “You are kind and compassionate, you’re really caring and that shows. You’ve been a role model us all with your gentle approach and have led the way while keeping everybody calm.
“Your patients are always well-cared for and that’s down to your leadership over the years.
“Caring runs in your family and all your girls will be here at North Tees flying the flag for you.”
While 2022 is the last year the Kemp family will work together, this certainly isn’t the end as the four enjoy their close-knit relationship.
As Chris retires, she is looking forward to some well-deserved time off and is looking forward to plenty of travelling and spending more time with her granddaughter.
She is celebrating her 64th birthday next week before jetting off to New York and later visiting London.