4 generations of nursing

Registered Nurse and Team Leader, Freya Springall, comes from a family of nurses who've recently celebrated 100 years of unbroken nursing tradition, passed from family member to family member. In the year the NHS turns 70, Freya told us why it seemed only natural that she should become a nurse, too.

‘My great-grandmother was a nurse in London in the early 20th century and her sister was a Home Sister who was in charge of the nurses alongside the matron. In those days, as soon as you married, you left the profession, but Aunty Jo remained single, so she was able to progress her career.

‘Great Granny had three children and two of them entered the medical profession: Anne, my granny, became a nurse in London and son, Malcolm, became a doctor – and he married a nurse! When Granny married she and Granddad moved to Seaford, where they started a family. My mum qualified as a nurse in 1979 and started her career in Eastbourne Hospital and still works as a nurse in Firwood House in Eastbourne.

‘As I grew up, I wanted to be a hairdresser but soon realised that Mum, who said that nursing would suit me because of my nature, was right. I started off as a healthcare assistant before qualifying as a nurse in 2007. During training I met the man who was to become my husband – and he is a nurse in the cardiology unit at the local hospital. After qualifying, I worked in the same hospital in the acute respiratory ward and, there, came across a lot of end-of-life issues and I loved supporting the patients and their families.

Freya pictured on the wards in her Team Leader uniform

‘I had heard of St Wilfrid’s and Dr Barclay from the hospice was quite often on the ward. I talked to him about nursing there and he let me know when a job came up. That was nine years ago. There is something so special about palliative care and end-of-life nursing – having the time to care for patients and their families really is a privilege.’

Freya with Julia Springall at Mill Gap Road, the former site of St Wilfrid's Hospice

‘If my rota allows it, it’s great to get involved with hospice events. I see it as a way of giving something back to the hospice and having fun with colleagues. I would urge you to join in… they're always great fun!'

The NHS celebrated its 70th birthday in the same year as Freya's families 100 years of nursing and created this short video interview with 3 of the nursing dynasty. Take a look below!