A COMMUNITY staff nurse has completed a university course improving her career prospects.

Middlesbrough-born Pat Richardson, 54, started nursing in 1969, in Stockton and Thornaby.

She now works for Darlington Primary Care Trust (PCT) as a community staff nurse, based at Park Place Health Centre but covering Denmark Street Surgery.

But after 35 years in the NHS she has qualified as a registered nurse, having completed the nurse enrolled conversion course at Teesside University.

"It has been really hard work but it has been worth it," she said.

"Getting the qualification has left me with a lot more confidence and will open up new opportunities in my career."

She was the only Darlington PCT nurse to take the course, which started last September and ended last week.

It covered all aspects of primary care including mental health, management, maternity and health promotion. She also had to complete a 3,000 word dissertation about smoking cessation.

Darlington PCT's nurse development facilitator, Win Suggett, said: "Pat has done really well and is an excellent example of how staff can increase their skills through life-long learning."