A well-known nurse at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has been honoured with a national lifetime achievement award by the country’s Chief Nurse.
Acting Chief Nurse Miss Val Newton has retired after caring for patients and colleagues in a career which spans 39 years, with 29 of those spent in King’s Lynn.
Val has been honoured by Chief Nurse Ruth May who presented her with the Chief Nursing Officer’s Gold Award for Nursing Excellence. Val is one of just seven people to receive this award.
Speaking after the surprise presentation Val said: “I am surprised, honoured and appreciative to receive this award. I would like to thank Ruth May for considering the work that I have done in my nursing career to result in this honour.
“It has been a privilege to work here at the Trust. My highlight has been working with so many wonderful people. We work together and we support each other and do the very best we can.
“I am so pleased that the new Chief Executive is taking us forward and I feel with the new team the future is very bright for the QEH.”
Nursing runs in the family for London-born Val, whose aunt and sister are both nurses while her mother started her nursing training.
She said: “Since I was quite small I wanted to do something that would make a difference. I have always enjoyed meeting people and looking after people.”
Val qualified as an SRN in 1981 and went onto work as a staff nurse in medicine, surgery and ITU over the following five years in Bath.
She went onto work in London before moving across the world in 1987 to work in New Zealand for two years, where she was a staff nurse in cardio thoracic intensive care and the cardio thoracic surgery.
In 1990, Val joined the QEH as a Sister on Feltwell and Elm Wards along with completing a BA Honours in Nursing Studies while also continuing to care for patients.
In 1999, she became the first Practice Development Nurse in the Trust when she worked within surgery and developed the first preceptorship programme and overseas adaption programme at the QEH in 2000.
Val became Lead Nurse for Practice and Innovation in 2008 along with completing a Masters’ degree in Research.
Over the following years, Val has held a number of senior positions within the Trust, including Acting Director of Nursing, Head of Nursing Medicine, Deputy Chief Nurse and Acting Chief Nurse while also maintaining close links with the nursing teams and a commitment to patient care.
Recently Val has also played a great role in helping to reduce the number of agency nurses in the Trust by helping to recruit 81 nurses from the Philippines who will be joining us in the coming months.
Chief Executive Caroline Shaw has paid tribute to Val for her dedication and commitment to the patients and staff at the Trust.
She said: “Val is an epitome of what a nurse should be – professional, completely dedicated to patients, wanting the best in patient care and here to support staff.
“Val has never given up on delivery of patient care or being here for our patients. We are going to miss her and we hope that she enjoys her well-earned retirement.”
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