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Colin Pike, the health board’s lead nurse for infection prevention and control retires


After nearly 38 years service in the NHS, Colin retires on March 28 2014
Some things will never be the same – Colin retires after 38 years

AFTER NEARLY 38 years service, Colin Pike, 59, the health board’s lead nurse for infection prevention and control is retiring.

Colin didn’t always want to work in the NHS! Following his attendance at Hendrefadog secondary modern school in Tylorstown and Llwynypia technical college, he went to the college of food technology in Cardiff in 1973 where he completed a three year course.

In early 1976 Colin decided to head for the bright lights and started his working life in London in a bread-making research unit where he undertook technical analysis and research for bread products.

colinpike.jpgAfter a short spell in London, he returned to Wales to work in a restaurant in Llwynypia but in August 1977 he left the restaurant to take up an auxiliary nursing post in the mental health unit at East Glamorgan Hospital whilst waiting for a date to commence nurse training.

He didn’t have long to wait because he started his training in the school of nursing at the hospital in 1978.

It was at that time Colin left home and moved into the nurses’ residence.

He has happy memories of ‘corridor’ parties and bus trips to bier kellers and of being a keen supporter of the East Glamorgan rugby team.

He also remembers fondly cooking on an electric ring in the residences and says that on Shrove Tuesday there’d be a long queue down the corridor for his pancakes!!

Italian and Indian food are Colin’s favourites and he says that the wife of a doctor at the hospital showed him how to cook Indian food properly, something he’s never forgotten.

Colin says he made lots of friends during that time with whom he still keeps in touch.

After qualifying in 1981, Colin worked as a staff nurse in ITU in East Glamorgan Hospital. Over the following three years he also worked in general surgery, urology, ENT, ophthalmology and acute medicine.

In 1984 he became a charge nurse on the general surgery/urology ward and stayed there until 1991 when he wanted a change in career. He applied for the post of infection control nurse and the rest, as they say, is history!

The new post supported the control of infection doctor, who at that time was Dr Boyce, consultant pathologist.

Colin says he had a desk and telephone on his first day in the office but no pad or pen! The role was new and very challenging and in the early days he read lots of books to improve his knowledge and attended a 12 month infection control training course in Manchester University in 1992.

As well as working in East Glamorgan Hospital he also worked in the community looking after residents of Taff Ely and the Rhondda before moving to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant.

Colin has been a member of the infection prevention nurses association, and supported organising the Welsh branch study for over ten years. He has also contributed to national groups across Wales in the development of guidance, policy and advice. During this time he became a member of the editorial board for the infection prevention and control journal, following publication of several of his articles.

Thinking back on his career, Colin said: “I have been very lucky in my career and with staff in the team over the years. I have always felt a general feeling of support and commitment.

“Hopefully I have listened to their suggestions and have tried to be flexible with new ways of working to develop IPC services.”

Colin added: “The profile of IPC over the years has significantly increased the awareness of how important infection control is in the healthcare environment. This has been supported by the health board, and national organisations.”

Over the years, the team has grown and now includes 8 nurses and 2 administrative support officers.

On a personal level, Colin has a twin brother Jeffery and a sister Helen who have both retired. There’s only eleven months between them and in March every year they are the same age!! What a challenge for his mum, Mair, who is 90 years old and still lives in Tylorstown.

Colin enjoys cooking, dining out, and visiting the theatre. The team has also enjoyed Colin’s culinary delights over the years – their favourite being roast beetroot! He said: “They also like my soups and casseroles in the winter”.

Holidays and travelling are also on his list during retirement but before he jets off he will have to make arrangements for his two pets – Soffy a three year old cavachon and cat Willow.

After having been in post for approximately 22 years, Colin is the second longest serving infection prevention and control nurse in Wales.

Colin said: “I have enjoyed the diversity of the role with no day being exactly the same.

“I will miss working with friends and colleagues when I retire but I am hoping to replace some of those challenges in my retirement with voluntary work and learning a language, and being more active.”

Friends and colleagues said their farewells to Colin on March 21 at Caesars Arms, Creigau.

Source: Cwm Taf University Health Board

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