Double Joy for Identical Twins Celebrating 40 years of Nursing

12th January 2023
Ruth Hudson and Margaret Bunting

Identical Twins Ruth Hudson and Margaret Bunting, from Dundonald share similarities not just in their appearance but also in their career choices as they dedicate 40 years of service to Nursing. Still working at the Ulster Hospital, Ruth looks back on their 40-year journey.

Growing up, the pair were inspired by their mother Rachel Patterson, who worked as a Health Visitor in the Belfast area. In January 1983, the Ulster Hospital welcomed the ‘Patterson Twins’ as nursing students to their combined Adult and Children’s Nursing programme.

Inseparable growing up, the girls had to adjust to working one floor apart in the Craig and Jaffa wards. Reminiscing about their early years, Ruth recalls the Doctors working between the two floors marvelling at how the ‘nurse’ was able to be at two different places at once!

After qualifying in 1986, Ruth took up a post at the Lagan Valley Hospital whilst sister Margaret continued to work at the Ulster Hospital until recently when she moved to the Southern Trust. That same year, Ruth left nursing to study at Bible College. However, Ruth later returned to nursing in 1993, back where it all began at the Ulster Hospital. Starting off as a Bank Nurse, Ruth moved to a more permanent position in the Recovery ward, before moving to the ICU in 2001. Ruth was asked to work within the Acute Pain Service in 2005, a post that was supposed to last for just one year, however, 18 years on Ruth continues to be a valued member of staff within the service.

Ruth continued to further her career in the Acute Pain Service, completing a Non-Medical Prescribing course in 2006, followed by a Post Graduate Certificate in Pain Science and Practice in 2011, which she describes as “invaluable” to her nursing career in the Acute Pain Services Department.

When asked about achieving this milestone, Ruth stated, “I’ve worked with some amazing people over the years and I have witnessed first-hand how nursing has changed over the past 40 years. Gone are the days now when as a student nurse I was able to knit on night duty whilst the patients slept!”

“Although I have loved my career, this year will be my last as I intend to retire. Time to be a granny!”

When asked about Ruth’s career, Pain Services Manager, Simon Higgs said, “I have had the pleasure of working with Ruth for over 15 years, she has achieved a lot in her 40-year career and is a highly specialised Nurse with a wide range of knowledge which she uses to provide a very high standard of care to her patients.

“Ruth embraces the role of an educator and has helped to guide and support many staff from all disciplines over the years. Overall Ruth is the role model that any manager would want in their service”.