Ray of Sunshine
09 July 2022
Ray of Sunshine
After nearly six decades dedicated to nursing, Ann Leggett is not ready to hang up her scrubs just yet.
Ever since she was a little girl, Ann has always wanted to be a nurse. Her drive to care for others has never wavered.
“When I was six years old, I got my tonsils out. While recovering I formed an attachment to one of my nurses. I decided then and there that was what I wanted to do.”
Her nursing career began in the UK 57 years ago, before emigrating to New Zealand in 2005 to continue her passion for caring here. Now, a valued team member of Metlifecare’s Edgewater retirement village in East Auckland, Ann navigates her role with compassion, grace, and a good dose of humour.
“You’ve got to have a sense of humour in this role. And that’s what I love about my team here, we’re like family and we enjoy a good laugh. The residents appreciate my banter too and they give it right back!”
The highlight of Ann’s long and varied career are the many tender moments she has shared with residents and patients along the way. Some of which, have stuck with her.
“When I was 19 and a junior nurse, I cared for an elderly gentleman at the end of his life. He’d spent his early years as a prisoner of war, yet he was so positive and grateful for the life he’d lived.
“He said to me, ‘do you know what I call nurses? Sunshine! You always bring the sunshine with you.’
“It’s these moments that really reinforce why I do what I do,” says Ann.
Empathy and good communication skills are key to doing the job well.
“We all study, pass the same exams and have learnt the hard skills. But you have to know how to connect with people. Put them at ease. Squeeze their hand. When I stop feeling, that’s when I’ll stop being a nurse.”
It’s that strong desire to make a difference and deliver quality aged care that’s kept Ann going well into her own retirement years.
“Nursing enriches your life. No matter what’s going on in your personal life, you forget all that when you come to work and make a difference for someone else.
“It doesn’t matter how big or small, or whether it’s being there for a resident, a family member, or a colleague.
“If I can shine a little ray of sunshine and make one person smile, that’s a good day in my book!”