ONE of Newcastle Hospitals’ most experienced and highly respected health visitors has celebrated two very special milestones.
Hazel Galloway recently received the distinguished title of Queen’s Nurse – one of the highest accolades in the community nursing profession – as well as celebrating her golden anniversary of working in the NHS.
The Queen’s Nurse title is granted only to those who can demonstrate a commitment to providing the highest standards of practice and care whilst placing patients and their loved ones at the very heart of everything they do.
Long service award
It is Hazel’s dedication to improving the health and wellbeing of children and families in the inner city area of Newcastle during her 30 years of health visiting that saw her recognised by the Queen’s Nurse Institute’s ‘Long Service Award’.
Hazel has made a wonderful contribution to the children and families of Newcastle, as well to her colleaguesCheryl Teasdale, associate director of nursing for clinical standards and community services
While this is an achievement itself, Hazel is also marking 50 years of NHS service which began in 1972 when she was just 16, cutting her teeth as a student dental nurse, and she now plans to retire this spring.
She describes her career as ‘incredibly fulfilling’ and believes it is down to her flexible and responsive approach to individual families’ needs, plus having an excellent memory!
“As health visitors we are hugely privileged to play such an important part in people’s lives,” said Hazel.
“I feel strongly about the importance of adapting to meet the needs of families and their children in a non-judgemental, supportive way. Bringing new life into the world and caring for young infants as they grow up with ever changing needs isn’t always plain sailing.
“Our role is to offer all the support and guidance families need during what can be incredibly challenging and difficult time and so building trust whilst being as open and honest as possible is key to getting this right.”
Health visiting for 30 years
Hazel began working in the West End of Newcastle in 1987 as a school nurse, then she was seconded onto a health visiting course qualifying in 1993 and has been a health visitor there ever since.
“It’s been amazing working in this part of the city. You really get to know the families and they get to know you too – in fact I’ve seen generations of families grow up here,” she added.
“Many people find life hard, feeling overwhelming and unable to cope. I have the experience and instinct to recognise any issues I can immediately help with and then prioritise what support the family needs going forward.
“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a family, who could potentially have seen their child taken into care, being able to stay at home because you’ve been able to help them understand the changes they need to make to keep their child safe. Sometimes it can often feel like you’re not making a difference but you really are.”
Her work more recently includes working with families seeking Asylum and helping them to navigate the many services that can help them to meet their health and social needs.
“It is so very hard for them at first coming to a strange country with a language they don’t’ understand after a difficult journey from their own homes. Giving them a voice is so important – it makes such a difference for them if they know they are being listened to and valued,” she said.
Hazel has seen many changes in health care services over the years but has developed strong relationships with GPs and practice nurses, community and voluntary organisations and acute services such as emergency departments. She says that she feels privileged to have received so much continued support throughout her career from her peers and management.
Matron for Newcastle’s 0-19 services, Marie Huscroft, describes Hazel as a true role model for many of her colleagues over the years who is hugely respected as a healthcare professional and friend.
“Hazel has been a strong and important mentor and touched the lives of so many of us over the years in a such an incredibility positive wayMarie Huscroft Matron for Newcastle's 0-19 services
“She sees the potential in those around her and encourages them to develop themselves, to recognise their own potential and take opportunities available to them. I certainly wouldn’t be in the position I am today without her influence and support for which I am so grateful.”
Cheryl Teasdale, associate director of nursing for clinical standards and community services adds “Hazel has made a wonderful contribution to the children and families of Newcastle, as well to her colleagues, developing and nurturing many members of the team. Her depth and breadth of knowledge is astounding.
“Working with children and families with such care and compassion, making a difference to their lives. No doubt the gap she will leave will be felt by all, however with her guidance, support and sharing of vast knowledge and experience she has equipped many with the skills to take into the future, and her legacy will live on.
“Newcastle hospitals and the people of Newcastle have been fortunate to have a wonderful health visitor. We wish Hazel a happy retirement, she truly deserves it.”
What is a Queen’s Nurse?
The Queen’s Nurse programme brings together community nurses to develop their professional skills and deliver outstanding patient care in the community.
The Queen’s Nurse Award honours nurses who have demonstrated a high level of commitment to patient-centred values and nursing practice.
Queen’s nurses demonstrate integrity, honesty and compassion whilst delivering the highest quality care to the benefit of individuals, carers, families, communities and peers.
They communicate in a manner which encourages the trust of individuals, offer holistic, personalised care which acknowledges, and is tailored to, the needs of the client.
Queen’s nurses also act as an inspiring role model to peers and professional colleagues and are committed to the development of community nursing by providing learning and leadership opportunities.