Express & Star

Award-winning nurse passes on watch to niece, 18, set to follow in her footsteps

A special moment was had today as a veteran New Cross Hospital nurse passed the baton to her niece who will soon be following in her auntie's footsteps.

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Wolverhampton New Cross Hospital nurse, Janine McKnight BEM, has passed on her special fob watch to her 18-year-old niece, Tegan Wood, begin her nursing career as she prepares to retire.

Tegan has recently been offered a place on the nursing course at University of Birmingham, starting in the autumn.

She is currently a student at Ormiston SWB Academy in Dudley, says being handed the watch is especially meaningful as it was passed down from her great grandparents, who passed away in 2012.

Janine McKnight passes her watch on to her hard-working niece, Tegan Wood, who will soon follow in her auntie's footsteps.

"I felt proud because I knew where the watch had come from," Tegan said. "My great grandparents passed away before I could go to uni and show them what I was capable of, so having the watch with me will really remind me of why I am there, and I will feel like I've got them with me."

The hard-working student said she is still in shock that she got a place at the prestigious university.

Janine McKnight passes her watch on to her hard-working niece, Tegan Wood, who will soon follow in her auntie's footsteps.

"I've gone through quite a lot in school life, I never thought in 1000 years that I'd get into a Russell Group uni," she said. "I'm really proud; I'm not usually that type of person!"

Tegan said it will not only a learning opportunity, but a chance to do what she loves in a job that is perfect for her.

"I will be doing mental health nursing, and I have experience in that through my mom's job as a mental health support worker," she said.

"I'm fascinated with science and the body, so it will be my education but also my passion. I love talking to people as well. It is so exciting, I cant wait.

"My auntie has been able to provide for the community for so long, and I am so proud to carry that on."

Auntie Janine, who lives in Ashby-de-la-Zouch but works in Wolverhampton, began her training at New Cross hospital in 1978 and continued on as a nurse for 46 years.

Janine in her clinical days

During her varied career, she worked as a general enrolled nurse, an A&E nurse, a midwife, a health visitor, as student coach and an author in women's health with a published book titled C-Section Recovery Manual: Your Body, Your Recovery.

She was also awarded a BEM for her services to nursing, a Queen's Nursing Institute award, and was crowned the Community Nurse of the Year in 2019.

As she prepares to retire, 65-year-old Janine congratulated her niece saying her success will complete a 'full circle' of Wolverhampton nursing in the family, and bring another nurse onto the wards – something which she believes is much needed.

Janine as a Specialist Community Public Health Practitioner receiving her Queen's Nursing Institute Award.

"I have had a wonderful career and I have enjoyed all the pleasures of being rewarded in that career," Janine said.

"After 46 years of me being in nursing, I'm now passing the baton and the legacy of my fob watch on to Tegan for her to take into her nursing career."

She says the role is full of opportunities, and shared some valuable advice with her niece.

Janine has been an inspirational nurse, author and student coach throughout her career.

"I have a mantra," Janine said, "to be the nurse you want to be, you must be compassionate, kind, and do what matters.

"Once you are qualified, the world is your oyster, you can travel anywhere in the world with an English nursing degree."

Janine said her career in the NHS has taken her to Mexico, Atlanta, Columbia, Venezuela, working with 'talented people'.

"I can't quite believe where the years have gone," she said. "I have had three most enjoyable and rewarding careers within the NHS.

"My most memorable moment was meeting Her Majesty the Queen, and my most rewarding moments were delivering babies safely."

She looks forward to taking up a number of exciting hobbies in retirement.

"It will be new opportunity to explore acting as an extra, writing, painting, and volunteering."