NHS Forth Valley Nurse Director, Professor Angela Wallace, paid tribute to the 3,000 plus nurses and midwives who work across NHS Forth Valley to mark International Nurses Day on 12th May 2020 which took place during the first ever Global Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
At a time when the world is in the throes of a viral pandemic Professor Wallace said the dedication by nurses, both in hospital and in the community, was inspirational.
She said: “The way our nurses have stepped up to caring for people during these challenging times has been nothing short of amazing. If there is a silver lining it is that nurses everywhere have been visible in a way that we could never have imagined. Their leadership and their impact on caring for people whilst developing new ways of working has been seen by the public first hand and in real time.”
She added: “The 2020 Global Year of the Nurse and Midwife coincides with Florence Nightingale’s bicentennial year and is an opportunity to say thank you to local nurses and midwives across NHS Forth Valley.
“Throughout NHS Forth Valley celebrations were planned but in the wake of Covid-19 these have had to be changed to respond to the pandemic and national guidance on physical distancing.
“However we have gathered experiences of people in their care and from those of us in senior and supporting roles to help pay tribute to them and remind nurses at this time that they are valued and recognised for all that they do.”
Vicky Garvock from Larbert is a NHS Forth Valley Learning Disability Charge Nurse working in the community and has been qualified for 13 years. Her first role as a nurse was at Loch View but her love of caring began whilst still at school. Influenced by her family, who worked in the caring professions, she became a buddy for children at Dawson Park School in Falkirk at a tender age, helping them play at playtime. At high school she volunteered at Torwood School, showing children with a learning disability how to bake cakes to raise money for charity, an extremely successful enterprise which resulted in the purchase of a school bus.
Once she realised that her future lay in nursing, she followed her heart and chose to specialise in learning disability.
Vicky explained: “I think it’s just such a rewarding career as you can become involved in people’s lives all the way through. I also like being an advocate for those who haven’t got a voice be it helping them access social services, health care or indeed everything they need to have a happy life. It means so much to get a smile.
“I think nursing offers so many career paths within the NHS. There’s no limit to your ambition. It’s a really exciting place to be.”
The path to nursing for Pamela Young, who works in the Stroke Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, was prompted by caring for a family member who sadly passed away after being nursed at home. Pamela had previously worked for many years dispensing in a pharmacy, then switched to management but was looking for a change of career. Her first post was at St John’s Hospital in Livingstone before she moved to work with NHS Forth Valley.
Pamela said: “I have no regrets about moving into nursing. It’s very rewarding helping patients get some normality back to their lives after suffering an acute event which has potentially turned their lives upside down. I also feel it is a great privilege nursing for people at the end of their life and supporting families through the hardest of times.
“Every day you learn something new and no one stroke experience is the same as another. If I was to give any advice to a nursing student I would say that although nursing can be challenging both physically and emotionally the rewards outweigh any challenges you face. Your team is the strongest support you will have throughout your career and leaning on each other when you need it most will get you through the toughest of days.”
The contribution of local midwives was also recognised on International Day of the Midwife which took place on 5th May 2020. Staff across the Women and Children’s Unit marked the day including local midwife Frances Dale, who has been caring for women and babies for 40 years.