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Dedicated nursing family play generation game at Wigan Infirmary

Brian Cheesman, his grandma Margaret Whitter and mum Amanda Cheesman
Brian Cheesman, his grandma Margaret Whitter and mum Amanda Cheesman

If your mum and your grandma are nurses, it’s no surprise that you might join the profession also!


And that’s exactly what Brian Cheesman has done, following in the footsteps of Margaret Whitter and her daughter Amanda Cheesman.

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To celebrate the NHS turning 70 on July 5, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust has been seeking out the ‘WWL Family stories’ that have evolved across its three sites over the years.

And Margaret, Amanda and Brian who have all worked, and are still working, at Wigan Infirmary as nurses, certainly fit the bill.

Back in 1963, Margaret joined the trust, then known as Wigan and Leigh Health Services NHS Trust, as a cadet after passing her entrance exam.

She then went into the Preliminary Training School and four years later qualified at as a fully registered nurse.

Though Margaret eventually moved into community nursing, managing the out of hours service, the infirmary still holds a special place in her heart.

Margaret said: “When I think of nursing I still think of this hospital and I still think of it as being my hospital because I trained here.

“The thing about Wigan Infirmary is that everyone who works here is like a family. The hospital is not so big that it’s impersonal, but it’s big enough to matter.”

While Margaret is now retired, the 65-year-old grandmother still volunteers for the trust she holds so dear to her heart and her family are carrying on the legacy.

Daughter Amanda has climbed the career ladder and now works as the assistant director of nursing at the trust and attributes her pursuit of a career in nursing career came from seeing her mum’s expertise at an early age.

Amanda said: “I have to say that my mum was my inspiration to go into nursing.

“I remember the calm and controlled exterior she had when we witnessed an accident and it was like right, okay, I want to be like that.”

Following her GCSEs Amanda studied for a BTEC qualification at Wigan and Leigh College before continuing on to Liverpool University in 1991. Amanda graduated with a dual registration as a Registered General Nurse with a health visiting qualification before joining her mum in working in community district nursing.

Amanda then returned to Liverpool University to obtain her Master’s in public health.

With a Master’s degree under her belt, Amanda joined the WWL family and has never looked back.

Her position there has offered Amanda the opportunity to invest in local talent in the form of new apprentices and staff members already working for the trust.

Amanda said: “Some people are meant to be nurses, whether that is as a registered nurse, and regulated by the NMC, or a nurse that hasn’t gone down a certain preparation route. I think there’s room for all, especially at this trust.

The new apprenticeship entry points into nursing are something Amanda is very passionate about: “I think the nurse of the future is going to look different to the nurse of today. We need to identify the talent in our local community and encourage that talent to join the WWL family.

“I will continue to create as many pathways and entry points for both new talent, and for our existing staff, to step on and off their career paths.”

As part of the latest intake of new talent at WWL, Amanda’s son and Margaret’s grandson Brian started on the apprentice auxiliary course in September 2017.

Brian is one of the first, and one of the youngest students, to take part in the apprenticeship, aged just 17 when he started.

Brian said: “When patients come in to the hospital and they’re so ill, being able to assist in helping them get better and then to see them go home is lovely.”

His mum added: “Making a difference to patients’ lives is something he’s proud of,.

“A couple of weeks into the course Brian had his first thank-you card that is still on his windowsill in his bedroom.”

“Whether he stays as an auxiliary or whether he becomes the director of nursing, I’m proud of him. He’s being useful to society, making people’s lives different every day and making them more comfortable, that’s all I can ask as a mum.”

And that praise is mirrored by, Margaret, who added: “You need the three Cs for nursing; care, compassion and cheerfulness.

“The treatments are very different but, no matter what happens, the patients are the same. The fears they have, the worries they have coming in hospital all that’s the same.”

* Do you work in the NHS alongside family members? If so we would love to hear your story. Ring 01942 506271 or email newsroom.wigan@jpress.co.uk