Dr Cheryl Etches, chief nurse and deputy chief executive at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, has retired after 38 years of service.
Professor Ann-Marie Cannaby will join the trust as its new chief nurse on Tuesday, following the Easter break.
“Her work in regards to infection prevention has been tremendous and we owe her a great deal”
Dr Etches has been a nurse in the NHS for 38 years and she has held the two senior positions at the West Midlands trust for the last 13 years.
She is credited with being at the forefront of innovation while at the trust, with projects such as dementia care, Care of the Dying Project and the Safe Hands Patient and Staff Tracking system.
The trust still also holds a record for the longest period without a MRSA bacteraemia.
Meanwhile, Dr Etches is described as being instrumental in establishing the first professor of clinical practice role, jointly with the University of Wolverhampton.
In addition, she has worked with the university in establishing the UK’s first Health Futures University Technical College, where she is currently a governor.
Trust chief executive David Loughton said: “Cheryl joined the trust at a time when the organisation was going through a challenging period.
Midlands trust’s nursing director retires after 38 years of service
“Since she joined we have gone from strength to strength and that is particularly down to Cheryl,” he said. “Her work in regards to infection prevention has been tremendous and we owe her a great deal.
“On a personal level I have become great friends with Cheryl and she has been very supportive over the years. We will all miss her,” he noted.
Dr Etches said: “It has always been the people and leaders that have kept me at this trust. They are amazing.
“We are way ahead of the curve most of the time and I am very proud to finish my NHS career working here,” she said. “What we have achieved is down to the team here.”
Dr Etches, who was made an OBE in 2012, was presented with gifts at a retirement celebration surrounded by friends and colleagues on Wednesday.
She added: “I am proud of the legacy I am handing over to the new chief nurse Ann-Marie Cannaby, who will have a great foundation on which to build.
“I am truly grateful for every opportunity awarded to me working at RWT and of course a special mention to our outstanding leader David Loughton CBE,” she said.