TRIBUTE has been paid to an ‘unflappable’ nurse who is retiring from a West Devon surgery after 32 years of removing stitches, administering vaccines and dressing ulcers.

Megan de Mendonca, 64, joined Yelverton Surgery in January 1988, having previously been a district nurse in two London hospitals (where she commuted by motorbike) and in Bovey Tracey. Her dedication has earned the respect of colleagues, prompting them to nominate her for 75th NHS anniversary award, which she won.

She says she has loved her job for the freedom it has given her to make decisions without consultation. That she has opted to stayed so long in the role is all down to the support of colleagues: “I have early experience in a hospital of poor management, but Yelverton Surgery gives us all the support we need, from the health care and administrative staff. We’ve been a real supportive team.”

She remembers well the significance of giving her first covid patient the new vaccine: “It was the first time for all of us and I admit my hand was shaking. But it all went well and it soon became routine.”

The role of GP nurse has expanded in her career: “Demands on GPs are always increasing, so practice nurses have also taken on more roles which takes the pressure off the GPs who don’t have the time. In turn we have the help of other specialists to alleviate our workload.”

Practice manager Sue Edwards said: “Megan has she has cared for our patients over the past 35 years. It is now time for her to retire and spend more time with her family including her young grandchildren. he has worked tirelessly over the years to support not only our patients but also the team around her. She has developed her diabetes knowledge over the years to provide a high standard of care to our diabetic patients. She has immunised generations of families over the last four decades and administered one of the first Covid vaccines in West Devon back in December 2020.

“She has dressed countless leg ulcers, removed thousands of stitches, taken immeasurable amounts of blood samples and tested gallons of urine samples! She is unflappable in any situation and always retains a good sense of humour.

“We will miss her terribly as she is an integral part of our team and demonstrates on a daily basis the ethos of the surgery. Over the years she has proved herself to be a dedicated and loyal member of our team. This is exemplified by changing personal plans at a moment’s notice to ensure that our patients are prioritised.

“This year it was 75th anniversary of the NHS. One of Megan’s nursing colleagues nominated her for an award in recognition of her long service to the NHS. Megan was chosen out of many nominations as a winner. We all feel very proud of her and what she has achieved through her career.

“Patients will still see Megan occasionally as she offered to help us to train her replacement and will help with our vaccination clinics.”