A specialist nurse has spoken of the joy she gets from helping children and young people to live life to the full.
Val Campbell told of her delight at being involved in the health service.
And she did it on the day we launched our search for health heroes like her, in this year’s Best of Health Awards.
The competition is bigger this year because we are choosing winners for the South Tyneside area as well as for Wearside.
So whether you are a GP, a hospital doctor, a nurse or a dentist, there’s a trophy awaiting the champion in TWO health areas.
Val, a paediatric diabetes specialist nurse, who has Type 1 diabetes herself, is based at South Tyneside District Hospital.
She said her condition means she can empathise with what young, newly-diagnosed patients and their families go through.
She told the Gazette: “I see them at diagnosis when they are upset and confused about the care needed and implications of the condition.
“I feel very privileged to be able to get to know the families and be able to help them to adjust to life with diabetes and still be able to do everything they want to do in life, which is very rewarding.”
Mrs Campbell - who has been a nurse for 37 years - started out on her career at the age of 17 by first training and then working at the then-Sunderland General Hospital.
She moved to Nottingham to do her children’s nurse training and on returning to the North East she worked as a staff nurse at Newcastle General Hospital.
Her next job was in paediatric A&E in Sunderland, and she then moved to South Tyneside to become ward sister on the children’s ward, before taking on her current role with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.
“Health workers like myself get great satisfaction from helping our patients and their families, but it is always touching when the public show that they value what we do,” she said.
This year’s Best of Health competition will be searching for even more examples of excellence in the health world.
That’s because our 2017 awards includes South Tyneside as well as Sunderland.
There are lots of categories to choose from, so there’s no excuse not to put your own health hero in the running for honours.
We will reveal the winners at a ceremony at the Quality Hotel, Boldon, on Thursday, April 27.
Let’s start with the categories where we will be choosing two winners, one for Sunderland and one for South Tyneside.
* GP of the Year.
* Hospital Doctor of the Year.
* Nurse of the Year.
* Dental Practice of the Year/ Dentist of the Year.
* Optometrist of the Year.
* Therapist of the Year.
* Midwife of the year.
* Customer Service/Unsung Hero of the Year.
* Long term achievement.
There will be one winner - covering all areas - chosen in the following categories.
* Care Worker of the Year.
* Pharmacist of the Year.
* Dental nurse of the Year.
And there is one category where a winner will be chosen for South Tyneside only.
* Community nurse of the Year.
Sponsors for this year’s awards are South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, mydentist, and NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group.
To nominate, just send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable. Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into.
Also send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).
Send all of that to Lynn Wild by no later than April 7.
Email those entries to firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland,DH4 5RA.