Situated a short walk from the main part of the Campus, the sanctuary of the Medical Centre is where boys are welcomed as the first port of call for the majority of illnesses and injuries. Di Stone joined in 2006. We asked her about her journey to Radley.
We emigrated from South Africa to the UK in late 2000. Having been a Nurse back home, I started work at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, but soon moved to Abingdon Community Hospital as it was far more convenient. At that point I had two young children so I chose to do two nights a week which meant I could still be around for them and help at school whenever they needed volunteers. I happened to see an advert to join the school nursing team at Radley College in 2006, and thought that it would be a wonderful, new, and exciting role to pursue. The idea of having school holidays and not doing only night duty also appealed to me. So, I threw caution to the wind and applied to be part of the team, and it was the best move ever. Jane Lambert (Lead Nurse) and Julian Moore (Medical Officer) interviewed everyone, and seven nurses were employed to start in September 2006.
What was it like when you arrived?
We took over from two nurses, Kenis Barker and Margaret Hutton, who manned the medical centre 24/7 during term time. The only time they ever worked together was a Saturday afternoon in Michaelmas Term, dealing with rugby injuries, so they must have been exhausted! It ran differently back then, but around the time I joined the old-fashioned Infirmary became the Medical Centre and Matrons became known as Pastoral Housemistresses (PHMs). The school was ready to modernise under Angus McPhail who was the Warden at the time.
As Jane Lambert was an experienced school nurse, she was fantastic at managing a team who had varied nursing backgrounds and many had never ventured into school nursing before. The likes of Anna Gomersall and all the PHMs were wonderful at giving advice and welcoming us to Radley, especially as the Radley culture and terminology was very new to us all. Looking after the boys was the easy part!
How would you describe working as part of the Medical Centre team?
The Medical Centre team comprises adult and paediatric nurses, as well as an admin and health care assistant. We cover a wide range of care from minor illness and injuries to monitoring asthma, giving travel advice and vaccinations if needed and looking after mental and emotional wellbeing. Radley College has been brilliant at facilitating our needs and allowing us to attend specialised courses. Although we are all individuals who specialise in specific types of care, we complement and support each other, which makes the medical centre a lovely department to work in.
What else has changed during your time at Radley?
The most notable change has been moving from paper records to electronic records. For example, the daily absence list was printed and stuck on the door of Common Room. Nowadays, there is no paper in sight; the daily absence list is posted online so all teachers have access to it.
The boys’ medical records also moved from paper to electronic records in 2008. This was linked up with Long Furlong Medical Centre in Abingdon, where all pupils are registered, making our job easier as we can update their NHS records online.
Can you pick a highlight from your time at Medical Centre so far?
There are hundreds! The biggest highlight is having a window into these students’ lives. Watching them grow up, arriving as timid Shells and leaving as confident 6.2s is very special. It is always a highlight when you hear of ORs who have gone on to achieve so much, be it personally or professionally.
One highlight I never expected came from being furloughed in early 2021, and volunteering with the Covid vaccination clinic during Lockdown, along with Xante Cummings, Yvonne Marsh-Wilson and Emma Smith. We thoroughly enjoyed it and were able to meet GPs, pharmacists, nurses, and admin staff that we would never normally meet. Everyone that came in for their jab was very grateful, it was a joy to see so much positivity during a tough time for all. We started in the January and ran through to the April, so even when term had started again here, we offered any time we could.
What makes Radley a special place to work?
As soon as I started here it just felt like home, I immediately felt comfortable. There are numerous joys that make my job incredibly special: being part of a lovely team, working alongside the PHMs and the wider Radley community, but the greatest privilege has to be looking after the Radley students.