Nurses have to think on their feet but Rose Amankwaah is fast on them too.
She was once feted as the ‘fastest woman in Africa’ and enjoyed a successful career as a sprinter before swapping her spikes for scrubs.
Rose, who lives in Kenton, began working as a trainee nurse at the Central Middlesex Hospital in 1975 - the same year the Vietnam War ended and Margaret Thatcher came to power.
“I was exempt from weekend shifts so I could continue competing domestically,” said Rose who represented Ghana at the All Africa Games in Nigeria 1974, Latin American and Commonwealth Games and trained alongside a promising young teenager called Linford Christie.
She was denied a place at the 1976 Montreal Olympics after African nations boycotted the event.
It was a blow to the young woman whose previous successes included 200m gold in Latin American Games, a silver and gold in the 100m and 4x100 relay in the All Africa Games and bronze in the 4x100m relay at the Commonwealth Games.
“It still seems like yesterday when I think about it,” says Rose who says the secret to her success was hard work and God.
“There is always going to be someone who is better than you but that shouldn’t stop you trying your best. You have to be your own champion and give 100%.”
Rose, who says she has worked so long at the hospital that she ‘feels like part of the furniture,’ has assisted in thousands of surgical procedures including a dramatic intervention when a stab victim was treated in the car park.
“It’s not the easiest job in the world but I love it,” added the self-confessed sports fan who has met both Prince Charles and Tony Blair during their visit to Central Middlesex hospital visits.
Nowadays, Rose keeps limber by attending community yoga classes before work each morning.
It promises to be a busy summer for the self-confessed sports fan, who, aside from looking after her nine grandchildren, will be settling down to the World Cup.
“Oh my god, you don’t want to see me at a football match. My son is a semi-professional player and I shout myself hoarse every time I see him play.
“I love sport. It only seems like yesterday that I was out on the track and I’m running every step when I see athletes like Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill on TV.”