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Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust midwife retires after 49 years

A senior hospital midwife has retired after 49 years.

Karen Youens left school at 16 and considered joining the police but was too short.

Karen Youens has retired after working for the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust for 49 years
Karen Youens has retired after working for the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust for 49 years

In 1973, she was accepted for cadet nurse training at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust.

She completed her state-enrolled nurse training and after her children were born she became a registered general nurse. In 1992, Karen qualified as a midwife and has been in midwifery ever since.

She said: “Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust has nurtured me from the age of 16.

“I left school with only CSEs and over the years, the Trust has helped to develop my skills and achieve higher academic qualifications including a Diploma of Higher Education, a Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters.

“This has enabled me to progress my career from a cadet nurse to a state enrolled nurse, a registered general nurse, a midwife and a lead for women’s experience.

Karen with staff on her retirement day
Karen with staff on her retirement day

“I want to highlight to everyone that no matter how you start off in life, it’s a life-long learning journey. I want people to believe in themselves.

“I feel so privileged to have been able to care for people and the community and be part of their lives in so many different ways. It has been an honour to be there for my patients and support them through both the happy and sad times.

“Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust is my family. I have worked alongside some beautiful people, both inside and out. We share and embody the NHS values. These values are part of me and I will take them with me.

“As for the future, I am looking forward to spending more time with my wonderful family and friends and going on even more adventures. My message to my NHS colleagues is: keep the fires of passion and care burning – as for me, it’s mission accomplished.”

Michelle Ahluwalia, head of midwifery at the hospital, said: “Karen always gives 100% in everything she does, she is totally dedicated and passionate about midwifery.

Karen Youens' retirement cake
Karen Youens' retirement cake

“Karen has had a fantastic career, she has done everything there is to be done within midwifery and at every step of the way, she has supported women and their families.

“Karen has been a loyal member of the midwifery team, highlighted by the fact that she has stayed at DGT all her working life. She is kind, caring, extremely loyal and loves life. We wish Karen the best in the next chapter of her life – we will miss you, Karen.”

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