Olive’s Portrait of a Life – at Peverel court care

Learning the stories of our resident’s lives and celebrating their achievements is one of the greatest joys in all of our Peverel Court Care homes. Read on to discover more about Olive’s remarkable life.

Discovering our resident’s life stories is one of the most wonderful aspects of supporting them in their later years. Lives that have been lived to the full, with twists and turns, achievements, joys and sadnesses, weave together to create a tapestry that is unique to each individual. We aim to celebrate this glorious individuality in everyday life in all of our care homes, with the knowledge of the person that we gain from talking to them and their family being absolutely fundamental to us providing truly person and relationship centred care.


Residents who’ve had health-related careers or in some way been linked to health or care work teach us a huge amount about what care and support used to be like. These are fascinating insights that our younger staff in particular are often captivated by, and Olive’s story is one such example.


Olive has lived at Stone House since June 2022 and is a former nurse. Olive has kindly shared her story with us as follows:


 “I was born on 20th February 1928 in Thame. I had one brother, Harold, who was three years older than me, but sadly Harold passed away in 2000. 


I was educated at Thame Girls High School. After my schooling I joined a Matron Housekeepers Course at Bridge House London. The last term of the course was based in a Children’s Ward which I enjoyed, and as a result I started training as a nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital where I became a SRCN. After that I qualified as an SRN at Kings College Hospital, where I became a Night Sister for two and a half years, before I had to return home to Thame as both my parents were ill. I later took up a post as a Theatre Sister at Thame College Hospital. 


In 1959 I met my husband, Herbert Nicolle. We married in 1961. In 1969 our daughter Anne was born and we were living in Princes Risborough. I became a member of the Risborough Choral Society for 35 years. I worked as a Volunteer Librarian at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital Red Cross Library for 18 years. I also became a member of the committee of the Princes Risborough Horticultural Society and a member of the Princes Risborough Methodist Church. 


One of my greatest highlights is a round-the-world holiday in 1987 that I went on with my husband and two friends. We visited Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Honolulu and Canada. 


Our daughter Anne got married in 1990 to Simon and I have a grandson, Tom, who was born in 2000. My husband died in 2001 only three months before our 40th wedding anniversary.”


Olive’s wonderful story now continues with the support of our Stone House colleagues. Olive says of living at Stone House:

The whole general atmosphere is very friendly and I like meeting other residents. I’ve been enjoying the activities a lot recently, especially the painting [pointing at her recent work on display]. I haven’t done much painting before! And of course the visits from the animals, I love seeing the dogs.”


With Olive’s healthcare background, we’ve been really keen to gather her thoughts on working as a nurse, which are particularly insightful for our nursing staff to learn about. 


We caught up with Olive to find out more about her life as a nurse and her thoughts on nursing:


Olive, you worked both day and night shifts – what did you prefer and how did you find the shift work?


“I was a Night Sister for two and a half years, and although I enjoyed my whole nursing career, I preferred the day shifts really. 


I worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital for 3.5 years. Then I did my General Nursing qualification, which was reduced from 3.5 years study to 2.5 years because of my time at Great Ormond Street. Then I did 6 months in Maternity and became a Night Sister for 2.5 years.”


Thinking about everything you did in your career as a nurse, what would you say was the highlight?


“Well I think the contact with the patients, even when I became a Sister. I always loved the Children’s Ward, and when I was a Night Sister I always loved going up to see the children.”


What would be your key message for today’s nurses? 


“Keep at it, it’s a very rewarding role.


It was funny, because when I left school, the only thing I knew I didn’t want to be was a nurse! The war had just come to an end when I left school in 1945, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. My real love was literature, but I didn’t want to teach.


I ended up going to a Domestic Science College for two years which covered all sorts of subjects, and the last term was working in the Children’s Ward at St. Mary’s in Paddington, and of course I loved it! So I went on to Kings College Hospital to study and qualify as a SRN. They said they wanted to promote me to Sister, but it was a rule of the hospital that you had to do your Part 1 Midwifery, so off I went to study again! It was all worth it, I loved being a nurse.”  


A huge thank you to Olive for sharing her story with us.


About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business. Providing exceptional, personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

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