Andrea Is Nurses' Champion; Paddy Shennan Talks to the Liverpool-Born President of the Royal College of Nursing
PIONEERING Liverpool has always been hailed as a city of firsts - and the medical profession has many claims to first-time fame.
For example, William Henry Duncan, aka Doctor Duncan, was Liverpool's and the country's first medical officer of health.
Liverpool, meanwhile, was the first city outside London to open a training school for nurses - and, in 2010, Andrea Spyropoulos became the first Liverpool-born nurse to be elected President of the Royal College of Nursing, which has 400,000 members.
Andrea, 57, who was born in the Mill Road Maternity Hospital and grew up in Howe Street, in the shadow of Great Homer Street, is now coming up for reelection (presidents can serve a maximum of two two-year terms).
And it seems only fitting that she should be holding this office at the time of the launch of the Liverpool Nursing 150 project.
She says of the anniversary celebrations: "It's a really wonderful thing to highlight and we should feel very proud - when the Liverpool training school opened 150 years ago, there were only two others in the country, both in London. I'm delighted to see such positive recognition of our nurses, because they are such an asset to our society."
Andrea, who went to St Anthony's Primary and St John's Secondary Modern schools and who lives in Aigburth, began her lengthy, varied and supremelysuccessful career as a cadet nurse, aged 17, at Sefton General.
She explains: "It was a prenursing course and my training really started aged 18, ending three years later."
Staying on at Sefton General, she worked as a staff nurse and a sister, before training as a midwife at the Countess of Chester Hospital and later working as a nurse on a cruise liner - which led to the then Miss Styles meeting her Greek husband, Sotiris Spyropoulos.
She says: "I then returned to Liverpool and worked in all sorts of areas in the Royal Liverpool, before going to the School of Nursing as a trainee teacher."
At Liverpool John Moores University, she spent 10 years lecturing in clinical nursing skills, specialising in legal and professional issues.
Over 40 years, Andrea has seen huge changes within the nursing profession.
"It has changed beyond all recognition," she explains. "There have been huge developments in medical and surgical care which mean that nurses are now managing their own caseloads, working in diagnostics and having to take much more responsibility. …