Two Health & Social Care North Lanarkshire nurses joined King Charles for his 75th birthday celebration at Buckingham Palace.
Staff nurse Surekha Kanchana and senior charge nurse Jane Thomson, from University Hospital Wishaw’s children’s ward, were invited to join the King at an event celebrating the invaluable contribution international nurses make to the NHS.
Originally from India, Surekha moved to Lanarkshire 18 months ago and has thrived on the ward.
The event was attended by more than 400 nurses, however Surekha had the opportunity to speak with the King, telling him about the children, the ward and her colleagues as well as how they manage to keep a ward of children entertained.
Surekha said: “I was excited to be asked to take part and tell the King, and other nurses from around the UK, the great work we’re doing here in Lanarkshire.
“I wished the King a happy birthday and he asked me about the ward, how I enjoyed my job and if I liked his birthday event. I told him I’m very proud to be a paediatric nurse in North Lanarkshire, I’m delighted I had the opportunity to move to Lanarkshire and that my family has settled in so well.
“I had a day off and Jane called me if I wanted to meet the King. I was stunned when I found out I had been selected to go. When the invite arrived in the post I thought it was a bill until I saw the King’s coat of arms on the back of the envelope!
“My dad saw me on the news in India as the celebration was shown there and he was so proud of me. I’m going to frame the invite now to make sure I always have it.”
Jane said: “It was a real honour to be nominated to join the celebration at Buckingham Palace. It shows the high regard NHS Lanarkshire’s nurses are held in.
“We do our very best for the children on the ward, and it’s always good to know that the hard work of nurses, and NHS staff as a whole, is being recognised.
“I’ve seen the palace on TV, but to actually be there and see how stunning it is, was amazing. It was great to see nurses being recognised for the work we do and it was great to see so many people in their national dress. We spoke to nurses from the Philippines, South Africa and Kenya.
“I was delighted that Surekha was chosen to go down to represent Lanarkshire as she’s been a great addition to the team since she started. She’s also used her experience in India and Dubai to not only settle in quickly, but also to help other international nurses adjust to living and working in Lanarkshire.
“It’s such an accolade for the people of Lanarkshire that they have helped our international nurses settle in so well. It’s also great that people from other countries want to bring their experience to NHS Lanarkshire and help people here.”
Trudi Marshall, nurse director, Health & Social Care North Lanarkshire, said: “It was wonderful Surekha and Jane had the opportunity to join the King – and hundreds of other nurses – to celebrate the valuable contribution of our international nurses.
“The fact that Lanarkshire nurses were invited to attend the event is a strong endorsement of the high esteem our nurses are held in.
“The service makes a very positive impact on people’s lives and I’m delighted for them that this has been recognised.”