A neo-natal nurse who has cared for thousands of newborn babies has spoken of her mixed feelings after she retired after 35 years.
Anne Vallance, a senior Sister at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, has been one of a team of specialised staff anxious parents have turned to for reassurance when their tiny children have received intensive care and treatment.
Her care has also received national recognition, while her knowledge of infection control has lead to her being invited to speak to health professionals in Canada and America.
But this week, Anne said that none of the achievements would have been possible without the entire team on the ward.
Anne (59), from Redding said: “It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve the community, to do something you enjoy and do a job you love.
“There have been sad times, but they have been few in comparison to the successful outcomes.
“The people I have worked with are phenomenal.
“Their dedication is amazing, and they are an exceptional team under pressure.”
Born and raised in Camelon, Anne began her career as a student nursery nurse in 1972, joining the neo-natal ward in Falkirk Royal Infirmary after qualifying.
She then studied general nursing for five years, before training as a midwife and serving at Stirling Royal Infirmary.
In 1986, she was promoted to the post of Sister and undertook more training in intensive care.
In November 2011, and as a senior Sister, she collected the Care for Children award at the Scottish Health Awards.
The accolade came after a grateful mother nominated those who had given her one-day-old daughter expert care after a life-threatening blood infection.
The mum praised the work of Anne and her team who provided the family with much-needed advice and support.
Because of the level of care, the baby was able to return home within five days.
Anne said: “The award was 100 per cent a team award, and it was for everyone.
“The kind of job we do cannot be done by one person.”
A keen advocate of infection control, Anne was invited to fly the flag across the pond in 2013.
In February of that year, she and colleague Sister midwife Cathy Brown travelled to a national conference in Montreal after a sample of innovative work was carried out at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
Anne and Cathy presented the work which featured the extensive measures carried out by the team to reduce hospital-acquired infections.
The new measures have resulted in no hospital-related blood borne infections (Staph Auerus bacteria or SABs for short) for five years.
Anne and colleague Ann Graham were later invited to Washington DC to speak about their work.
Mum-of-one Anne added: “I am extremely proud of the people I have worked with over the years.”