One of Britain’s oldest nurses revealed she has no plans to retire – and said she will keep working full-time as long as she feels fit.
Gran-of-three Isabel McCall, 78, has spent more than 40 years looking after patients in Glasgow but said she still loves going to work and ‘feels great’.
Isabel works full-time as a Health Care Support Worker at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, caring for patients with diabetes.
She gave retirement a go when she turned 58 – but was only out for a year before she decided she missed the hospital too much.
Mum-of-two Isabel, from from Dennistoun, Glasgow, started her career as a housekeeper in theatres, before moving on to the wards, and was forced to shield at home during the pandemic.
She said the secret of her youthful looks is a daily application of Astral cream, and that she has no plans to retire any time soon.
Isabel said: “I just love coming to my work.
“I love working with patients, helping them and seeing them get better and I love the Royal.
“I’ve been lucky to work with really good staff and ward sisters.
“One of the main aspects of my job I really enjoy is developing friendships with patients who are with us for long stays.
“I was out for a year and couldn’t handle it and came back.
“I thought to myself ‘as long as I’m fit enough, I want to work’.
“As long as you’re fit to work, keep going.
“Your body will tell you when it can’t do it anymore.
“But right now, I feel great and I love it.”
Following covid guidance Isabel stayed at home during the pandemic, but said she was constantly in touch with the ward team and desperate to get back.
Staff described her as an entertainer who always wears a huge smile – and hope she will stay around for years to come.
Senior charge nurse Louise Sawdon, who works on Ward 5 with Isabel, said she is a confidante and mentor, with ‘great life experience’ who takes new staff under her wing.
Louise said: “Isabel is such a hard worker.
“Times have been tough over the last couple of years, but she always comes in, works really hard and is great with the patients and always make sure they are very well cared for – and she does it all with a huge smile on her face.
“Across the wards, covid has made our bond stronger.
“We have had to support each other, and learn to communicate with each other better and Isabel has been a big part of that.
“Her work is her passion and a true vocation.”
Patricia Myers, Associate Chief Nurse, added: “Isabel is a huge character within the medical block at Glasgow Royal and is one of those who was born to do a caring role.
“She still brings huge compassion to the role and I hope there are many more years to come.
“Isabel is loved in the staff room and is something of an entertainer, but the patients and their families are her main focus.
“We are so fortunate to have her as part of the GRI team.”
Monica Bulman, from Devon, was Britain’s oldest nurse until she retired in 2018 aged 84.