Pioneering nurse calls it a day after 40 years

PIONEERING INITIATIVE ... Irma Shepheard, right, with her family nurse partnership colleagues.
PIONEERING INITIATIVE ... Irma Shepheard, right, with her family nurse partnership colleagues.
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a NURSE responsible for helping set up a pioneering health initiative in South Tyneside is calling it a day after decades of service.

Irma Shepheard, a nurse for almost 40 years, has been supervisor of the family nurse partnership – started in Sunderland and later expanded to South Tyneside and Gateshead – since its inception in 2009.

I feel privileged to have been part of the partnership, which offers babies and their young parents a better chance in life.

Irma Shepheard

The partnership is a voluntary home-visiting programme for first-time mums and dads aged 19 or under.

It sees specially-trained family nurses visiting young mums regularly, from early in pregnancy until their children reach the age of two.

Mrs Shepheard said: “I feel privileged to have been part of the partnership, which offers babies and their young parents a better chance in life.

“The nurses in the team, who have a wide range of experience – from midwifery, health visiting, and school nursing to sexual health – are brilliant, so committed and caring, and the admin support staff are wonderful too. I will miss working with them all.”

Mrs Shepheard, of Durham, started her career at Sunderland General Hospital as a cadet nurse and was then a midwife, a health visitor and an early-years mental health specialist before joining the partnership team for first-time parents.

Though she has retired from her role, she is continuing to work as a part-time primary mental health specialist for Sunderland’s community child and adolescent mental health service.

Twitter: @shieldsgazchris