'One in a million' nurse retires after 46 year career

Martin Green when he began training in 1976 and on one of his final shifts.

A nurse described as “one in a million” by colleagues is saying his final goodbye to the NHS after 46 years.

When Martin Green hangs up his scrubs for the final time today (Sunday May 15th) it will signal the end of a career that has spanned several hospitals, dealing with everything from birth to death.

“I have done my fair share,” said the Morriston Hospital bed site manager, who turns 66 next week.

“I left school at 15 without any qualifications and had to work my way up the hard way. I often sit there and reminisce.

“One of the things I will miss is the team I am with at the moment. We have been together a while and have been through quite a bit.”

Martin’s current role sits at the heart of the Swansea hospital, monitoring patient movements and bed capacity across the site.

It is the type of role which did not exist when Martin joined a very different NHS in May 1976.

Brought up in Ebbw Vale, he joined a nurse training programme at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol when he was just 18.

“I must admit it was a strict but wonderful training school at Frenchay,” he continued.

“If you came onto the ward and your uniform wasn’t up to scratch you were sent back to your room.

“We didn’t wash our uniforms ourselves. They went to the hospital laundry and came back starched stiff as a board. You could stand them up on your own.

“The uniforms have changed a bit since then. I think the scrubs we have now are the most comfortable.”

Martin's colleagues bid farewell to him at Morriston Hospital

After qualifying, Martin worked in the intensive care unit in Frenchay, then Singleton Hospital in Swansea before moving to mental health at Pen-y-Fal Hospital in Abergavenny.

He has since worked in accident and emergency at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport and joined A&E at Morriston for its opening in 1985.

Carol Doggett, interim director of nursing at Morriston Hospital, said: “Being a nurse is much more than wearing a uniform. It is being kind, compassionate, professional and recognising it’s a privilege to work with people from all walks of life and provide them with care.

“I’ve been told that Martin is unique - one of a kind. He is there for everyone as a friend and a nurse who will always go the extra mile.

“His closest colleagues have called him in Welsh, halen y ddaer, which means salt of the earth. He really is one in a million.”