Precious Gifts for Caring Caroline

A teddy bear made from a number of NHS Scotland nursing uniforms was one of many gifts presented to Caroline Gill, NHS Forth Valley’s Head of Nursing for Learning Disabilities, on her retirement from the NHS after 38 years service.

With numerous awards under her belt, including a Scottish Health Award, Caroline began her career as a healthcare support worker at the former Royal Scottish National Hospital in Larbert and then trained as a learning disability nurse. She then went on to undertake a postgraduate diploma in palliative care and a BSc in health studies which she gained with distinction.

Working to improve the service, Caroline held a number of positions and also undertook a seconded post in palliative care at Strathcarron Hospice. After she returned to NHS Forth Valley she was asked to consider applying for the Senior Nurse role in the new assessment and treatment unit at Lochview and the rest as they say is history! According to General Manage, Kathy O’Neill, Caroline was an excellent choice as she understood the ethos of what the Board were trying to achieve at Lochview. She was a progressive manager who was passionate about providing the best contemporary experience for people during their stay there. Over the years Lochview has attracted many compliments and much praise for its care and Caroline’s leadership has been integral to this.

In 2018, Caroline was appointed as Head of Nursing for Learning Disabilities, a senior role she has found one of the most fulfilling in her long career.  As the professional lead for learning disability nurses, Caroline worked across our two Health and Social Care Partnerships to help shape future services, deliver person-centred care and ensure that the role of a learning disability nurse was understood and valued.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Caroline’s farewell tea morphed into a garden party with physical distancing, where she also received jewellery, gin, flowers, money, champagne, a book filled with messages and a picture made up of patients thumbprints which, along with the special ‘nursing’ teddy, she described as very precious. In a letter of thanks she said the fact that so many nurses were able to be there along with patients, meant the world to her. She explained: “Those of you who know me well know how important it was for me to have an inclusive celebration.”

Caroline’s retirement holiday was meant to be a trip to Jamaica but sadly, this isn’t possible at the moment due to the ongoing pandemic however she is hoping to make the trip at some point in the future. In the meantime she is planning a trip around Scotland and Ireland in her new soft-top car and is looking forward to spending more time with her much-loved daughter who is currently at university. Caroline loves the East Neuk of Fife and will be heading there soon with her adored dog, a nice red wine and husband Graeme with whom she shares a lifetime love of music.