Superstar 75-year-old Manchester nurse wins national care award

Gladys Nkhola from Hulme has been working 60-hour weeks throughout the pandemic, despite being in an at-risk category herself
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A local 75-year-old nursing superstar who has been working 60-hour weeks throughout the pandemic has been named the winner of a prestigious care award.

Gladys Nkhola, from Hulme, works at independent hospital Monet Lodge and was recognised by the Markel Third Sector Care Awards for her contribution to compassion in nursing.

Monet Lodge in Withington provides residential care and support for people living with complex dementia or mental health conditions.

Gladys has been dual qualified as an RGN and an RMN since 1976. Moving to the UK from South Africa in 2002, she has nursed at Monet Lodge since 2004.

According to the judges, the award recognises someone who conducts tireless and unwavering work to ensure those around them feel safe, respected and dignified.

Gladys chose to qualify as a nurse in South Africa after watching her 48-year-old mother pass away from a heart attack in front of her. Gladys was just 23 at the time.

Despite being in an at-risk category herself, she has taken on two extra night shifts a week during the pandemic to cover for staff who are isolating.

Switching to taxis rather than taking the bus to reduce the risk of her bringing coronavirus to residents has been her only concession.

“Gladys has dedicated her life as a nurse to the care of others,” said Joby Raju, clinical lead, Monet Lodge.

“At 75, she continues to work tirelessly and compassionately, night after night, to ensure that the patients in her care receive the absolute best care that they deserve.

“She has an inherent sense of humanity, compassion, love and understanding. Her clinical knowledge is vast and she is a great motivator and leader.

“Working on shift with Gladys, staff always learn something new.

“Gladys always has a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye and nothing, absolutely nothing, is too much trouble for her.”

Hospital manager Mark Edwards said: “When Gladys reached 75, I arranged to talk to her and when I did, she was terrified that I was going to ask her to retire!

“When in fact, she wanted a conversation to reassure her that as long as she was fit and healthy, wished to and was able to continue working, then we would welcome her at Monet Lodge to do so.

“She was so relieved.”

The awards were announced during a live online celebration, co-hosted by Dame Esther Rantzen and her daughter, Rebecca Wilcox.

Gladys is also in the running for five Great British Care Awards.

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