In good health: meet the people who have quit their jobs to join the NHS

From the dinner lady retraining as a nurse, to the credit controller with her eyes on midwifery, coronavirus has encouraged many to follow their dreams of a caring career

It wasn’t that Zeta Annear didn’t like being a dinner lady. The children were lovely and the school felt like a community. It was straightforward work – because her school was small, all Annear had to do was collect cooked food from a nearby, bigger school, dish it out, then wash up. But the 39-year-old mother of three from Cornwall always felt as if something was missing. “I felt like I wasn’t using my brain whatsoever,” Annear says. “As much as I loved the teachers, the children and the people, I needed more.”

Annear has wanted to be a nurse since she was a child. Her desire to work in healthcare was reignited when she lost her daughter Sophie, who was stillborn, in 2010. “My midwife was absolutely phenomenal … even though I was going through the most horrendous experience ever, she made me feel like everything was OK,” Annear says. “Ever since then, I have wanted to be the person who made someone feel like things were OK.” But life always got in the way; Annear’s husband is in the navy, so he is often away, and she needed a job that fitted around the kids.

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