A former Waringstown woman has come a long way since her days as a trainee nurse at Lurgan Hospital.
Tracey Geddis, who recently became a senior lecturer at Bucks New University, has become a much sought after expert in the field of spinal injuries.
She returned to Waringstown this Christmas to spend time with her family and was shopping with her mum when she got the news of her new post.
She explained: “Because I was coming home for Christmas I couldn’t do the interview (for the position of senior lecturer in spinal injuries) in person.
“I got interviewed for the position on December 23 by Skype. I’m a bit of a technophobe so it was completely new to me.
“I was in Tesco in Craigavon with my mum when I got the call to say I’d got the post.
“I was so happy I started to cry which set my mum off as well.”
She added: “I keep asking myself, ‘How did a wee girl from Waringstown get here?’
“All my friends went on to be doctors and dentists.
“I didn’t go to university but came via a different route.”
Tracey completed her nurse training in the Southern Area College of Nursing Craigavon then worked in Lurgan Hospital as a staff nurse.
She moved to England where she continued her nursing career in Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the National Spinal Injury Centre before obtaining an MSc in Spinal Injuries in 2014.
Tracey was head hunted to speak at a conference in Atlanta Georgia in the USA in December and she has also been invited to study days in Munich, Barcelona, Sweden and Denmark as part of a spinal injuries focus group.
Tracey took the opportunity to pay tribute to Lilian Murphy, who she said had been a guiding light in her career.
She said: “Miss Murphy was my matron at Lurgan Hospital and assistant director of nursing services in Craigavon.
“She’s been the focus of everything I’ve done in my nursing career.”
While her family still live in Waringstown, Tracey has made a life for herself over in England with her boyfriend Jason Smith, who she first encountered as a patient at Stoke Mandeville.
She said: “I nursed him. We were good friends for a long time before we got together.
“Because we deal with spinal injuries the care we offer is life-long. In the case of myself and Jason that’s taken on a new dimension.
“We’ve been together for 15 years. Jason and I don’t live together. He’s in Croydon and I’m in Buckinghamshire. There’s 70 miles between us. It keeps things fresh.”
Tracey returned to England on Sunday looking forward to the new challenges ahead.