One of the best known faces in NHS Forth Valley, Associate Director of Nursing Helen Paterson, is heading to NHS Fife to take up the post of Director of Nursing. Helen started her career as a nursing auxiliary at the Royal Scottish National Hospital – now the site of Forth Valley Royal and began her nurse training at Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary. She attended Callendar Park College of Education and qualified in 1987.
In 1989, she began working in medical intensive care at Falkirk and nine years later moved to Stirling Royal Infirmary to take up her first Sister post. She became a Clinical Coordinator and moved to her current post in 2001.
Helen looks back on her time in NHS Forth Valley years, which span more than 30 years, with affection. She recalls The Queen’s Golden Jubilee when wards were decorated with bunting, and a visit by the Princess Royal when patients were taken out in wheelchairs so they could wave flags. Her memories also include a medical unit dance at the same time as a new policy had been introduced on so-called ‘attractive’ drugs – drugs which people liked to get their hands on and which had to be kept under lock and key. Helen went to the event dressed as a big tablet – complete with high heels!
Asked how she felt about leaving Forth Valley, Helen replied: “I’ve got mixed emotions. I have been here for 31 years and I know everyone and it’s like a family. I’ll be sad to go but I am going to my extended NHS family in Fife – genuinely that’s how I feel.”