THE more than 3,000 nurses and midwives working across NHS Forth Valley are today being celebrated by the health board and wider community.

Tuesday, May 12, marks International Nurses Day while 2020 is also the first-ever Global Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

It is an opportunity to mark the contribution nurses make to society and comes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The more than 3,000 professionals from the wider area include Vicky Garvock, a learning disability charge nurse, and Pamela Young who works at Forth Valley Royal's Stroke Unit.

Pamela got on the path to nursing after caring at home for a family member who sadly passed away.

For many years she was dispensing in a pharmacy and was later in management, but Pamela was looking for a change in career.

She said: “I have no regrets about moving into nursing.

“It’s very rewarding helping patients get some normality back to their lives after suffering an acute event which has potentially turned their lives upside down.

“I also feel it is a great privilege nursing for people at the end of their life and supporting families through the hardest of times.”

Vicky, from Larbert, has been qualified and working in the community for 13 years but her love of caring began much longer before.

Influenced by her family, who worked in the caring professions, she became a buddy for children at Dawson Park School in Falkirk.

While in secondary she volunteered at Torwood School, showing children with a learning disability how to bake cakes to raise money for charity.

It was an extremely successful enterprise which resulted in the purchase of a school bus.

She realised her path lay in nursing, followed her heart and chose to specialise in learning disabilities.

Vicky said: “I think it’s just such a rewarding career as you can become involved in people’s lives all the way through.

“I also like being an advocate for those who haven’t got a voice be it helping them access social services, health care or indeed everything they need to have a happy life.

“It means so much to get a smile.

“I think nursing offers so many career paths within the NHS.

“There’s no limit to your ambition. It’s a really exciting place to be.”

Paying tribute to all the hard-working staff was Professor Angela Wallace, nurse director at NHS Forth Valley.

She said: “The way our nurses have stepped up to caring for people during these challenging times has been nothing short of amazing.

“If there is a silver lining it is that nurses everywhere have been visible in a way that we could never have imagined.

“Their leadership and their impact on caring for people whilst developing new ways of working has been seen by the public first hand and in real time.”