A popular healthcare assistant who started her working life as a cleaner is now celebrating 21 years at Spire Healthcare’s Yale Hospital in Wrexham.
But despite being offered an expenses paid trip to London to celebrate the special anniversary, modest mum of two, Michelle Jones, declined, saying her greatest reward was to carry on with the day job, caring for her patients.
Michelle, 37, of Penycae, had no ambitions to become a nurse or care professional when she took on a cleaning job at Yale after leaving The Groves High School, Wrexham, as a teenager.
She said: “I only applied because at the time my mum also worked here as a cleaner and I wanted a job to earn some money.”
But soon after starting Michelle showed a natural rapport with patients and her aptitude for a health care career was quickly spotted by the nursing team.
They encouraged her to train as a full time care assistant and study for professional qualifications.
Michelle, who lives with her mechanic partner Aron, is now one of the longest serving members of staff at the top North Wales hospital and says deciding to train as a healthcare assistant was the best move she’s ever made. She still loves her job as much today as when she first started at Yale more than two decades ago.
She said: “When I was persuaded to switch from cleaning and move into the full time care sector I started by doing my NVQs in customer service, training on the job and being assessed at different levels as I went along. Then eventually I went on to achieve a diploma in healthcare and social studies.”
Today Michelle works in outpatients, meeting patients when they first visit the hospital, doing blood tests, following up results, helping consultants and prepping people for operations.
She said: “I worked on the ward for some years before moving to my current role. I enjoyed that very much. But one of the nice things about doing the job I do today is that I get to meet patients when they first come to us here at Yale. Sometimes they might be a little nervous and I try to help put them at ease. Then with those who go on to have further treatments or operations, I get to see them as they recover. It’s so nice to go through the full journey with them, to see the change in them as they improve and their confidence picks up.”
Spire Healthcare Matron, Linda Jones, said Michelle is one of the most well liked and respected members of the Yale team.
She said: “She’s very modest, quietly getting on with her job without making a fuss, and she never fails to go the extra mile to support everyone she works with, whether that be her immediate colleagues, hospital consultants or patients. She is so hard working and dedicated.”
In appreciation of her work, Spire management offered Michelle an expenses paid trip to London, including a lunch, to mark the anniversary of her 21 years at Yale, but Michelle declined, joking that she was ‘geographically challenged’.
She said: “I was very grateful for the kind offer, but I’ve never been much of a big city girl and London is so busy and hectic, I think that I would never find my way home again if I went there!
“For me the best reward is just being with my patients and getting on with the job I love.”
Michelle, who is Wrexham born and bred, has two children, Ella, 11, a pupil at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, Wrexham, and Charlie, eight, who attends primary school in Johnstown.
Her mother Sue, who first alerted Michelle to the original cleaning job at Yale, has also gone on to become a care assistant, in a residential home.
Hospital director Sue Jones said: “People like Michelle are the backbone of Spire Yale Hospital. Her caring attitude and her dedication are exemplary.
“She is a very popular member of staff, both with her colleagues and the patients on whom she lavishes so much care and attention.
“I’d like to congratulate her on her 21 years of service a wish her all the best for the next 21!”