From the Royal Navy to Sunrise of Virginia Water: General Manager, Jennifer Lewis, Shares Her Nursing Story

Nurses Day 2021 gives us a moment to reflect on all the incredible, selfless and loving work nurses across the country do every day. To celebrate the dedication of our own nurses, we spoke to the General Manager at Sunrise of Virginia Water, Jennifer Lewis, to find out about her journey to the Sunrise Senior Living UK family.

Jennifer trained to become a Registered Nurse between 1981 and 1984 at Stonehouse Hospital as part of the Queen Alexandra Royal Navy Nursing Service (QARNNS). Jennifer says she and her fellow trainees wore very traditional uniform, which although was quite cumbersome, provided the group with an amusing talking point.

During her second year as a nursing student in 1982, the Falklands War broke out between the UK and Argentina. As a result, the hospital she was training at was cleared out to take care of the casualties from the war. Jennifer says that the way in which roles had to change, including student nurses being given far more tasks to complete than they normally would, has similarities with the current Covid-19 pandemic.

After she left the Royal Navy, Jennifer’s career in the NHS began. She says that her highlight from this period was when she was made a Ward Matron at the Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot. As a congratulations, Jennifer’s family gave her numerous memorabilia from the famous film “Carry on Matron”.

Jennifer left the NHS in 2015 to join Sunrise Senior Living UK as Deputy Manager at the Guildford care home. She says that while she was less “hands-on” with everyday nursing, she still remained well prepared and ready to support when needed. And, even now as General Manager at Sunrise of Virginia Water, Jennifer still has a uniform ready in case she is needed.


To fid out more about Sunrise of Virginia Water, click here.