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School nurses rewarded for long service in West Midlands

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Four school nurses have been thanked by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust for clocking up 100 years of service between them.

In particular, the trust praised Rachel Keen, Debbie Hughes, Sallyann Sutton and Trevor Woolnough for their part in pursuing its “mission of providing first class, integrated care”.

“Their length of service to these families shows a real commitment on their behalf”

Quadar Zada

“Their efforts have helped us achieve excellence in the school nursing service and today, we celebrate their contributions to our success,” said the trust.

School nurse Ms Keen, 56, joined in 1979, following her nurse training, and became part of the school nurse service in 1991.

“I was interested in supporting children with unmet health needs and in my early days took an interest in bedtime wetting,” she said.

On a day-to-day basis, she supports bed wetting and continence in children, while spending one day a week carrying out health assessments for looked after children.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

School nurses rewarded for long service in West Midlands

Sallyann Sutton (right) receives her long service award certificate from Qadar Zada. Also pictured are Caroline Whyte (left), divisional director of nursing, and Dr Louise Holland (front), divisional director of women’s, children’s and clinical support services

She said: “I have always worked with a good team who are very supportive, plus health education with children has always been very rewarding; nothing beats helping them to reach their full potential.”

Clinical team leader Ms Hughes, 55, provides both health support for children and direction for the service. She joined the trust in 1985, and a decade later became part of the school nurse service.

“I was working at the Manor Hospital in elderly care when one of my patients told me that he wished as a child that he’d been informed that smoking and alcohol could result in critical conditions such as a stroke; urging that children should be taught these things from an early age,” she said.

“This sparked an interest in health promotion for children,” she noted. Ms Hughes said she remembered a young girl running up to her in a supermarket and proudly saying that she did not wet the bed anymore and thanking her for her help. “It made my day!” she said.

Meanwhile, school nursing professional lead Sallyann Sutton, 49, celebrates 25 years with the service.

She joined the trust in 1986 as a student at the Sister Dora School of Nursing and has dedicated over 30 years to the trust, having joining the school nurse service in 1992.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

School nurses rewarded for long service in West Midlands

Rachel Keen (second from right) receives her long service award certificate

“I enjoyed the community service experience in my nurse training and enjoyed the idea of getting to know and support families over longer periods” she said. “It is such a privilege to build such relationships with children and young people in their own homes.”

Lastly, Trevor Woolnough commenced his nurse training in Kent in 1975, before moving to Walsall’s school nursing service in 1998 to allow him to build on his enjoyment of health promotion.

Qadar Zada, director of operations for women’s, children’s and clinical support services at the trust, said: “They have been very loyal colleagues and have helped us to provide exceptional care and support to the children and young people of Walsall.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

School nurses rewarded for long service in West Midlands

Debbie Highes (second from right) receives her long service award certificate

“Their length of service to these families shows a real commitment on their behalf and I know that the trust and the community appreciate this, as is indicated in the patient feedback we receive,” he said.

“It is fantastic to see such dedication from so many members of the team. We celebrate them as role models whose knowledge and service is invaluable to the trust,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ms Sutton has also achieved a nationally recognised health service leadership award, the trust revealed last week.

The professional lead for school nursing has gained an Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (EGA) NHS Leadership Award.

In her role, she works with commissioners and partner agencies, focusing on strategic development of the service.

“You can influence the change and that’s so important”

Sallyann Sutton

To further her development, she chose to study the two-year course comprising residential and work-based learning around patient and colleague engagement, and bringing together NHS expertise with that of the private sector such as accounting and local universities.

“The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson programme not only supported me to develop personally but worked to help improve the development of our service” she said.

“For example, one of my tasks asked me to look at making our service more accessible for the public,” said Ms Sutton.

“We worked with the British Youth Council, trained school nurse ‘champions’ and liaised with young people so we could gain some critical feedback. So it was already having a positive impact before I’d even finished the course,” she added.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

School nurses rewarded for long service in West Midlands

Sallyann Suttong

This award follows work she has already done nationally around the emotional health pathway with Public Health England. She received the Queen’s Nurse Award in 2016 for commitment to community nursing.

In addition, she is a member of the School Nurse National Leaders Forum, a group of 16 school nurses selected from around the country to work with Public Health England to help ensure sustainability of school nursing and influence policy around children’s health.

“You can influence the change and that’s so important,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to be a strong voice for the service and children’s community services as a whole and will always strive to develop it wherever possible.”

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