A FORMER Solihull nurse has said she is ‘humbled’ after receiving a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.
Helen Meehan was nominated for the honour by Vanessa Wort – head nurse at Solihull Hospital – and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group in recognition of her significant and lasting impact on end of life care in the borough.
The 50-year-old has been in nursing for 32 years and has worked in palliative care for over 20 years – first as a district nurse, then as a Macmillan clinical nurse and finally as a lead nurse for palliative care in Solihull from 2004.
Helen, formerly of Shirley, has been married to husband Kevin for 27 years and is mum to daughter Lucy, a doctor, and son Tom – a Royal Marine Commando.
Helen was inspired to go into nursing by her mum – who was also a nurse – and said news of the award had taken her completely by surprise.
Helen added: “I feel very honoured to be receiving this award – I really did not expect it so it was an amazing surprise.
“I recognise that I would not be able to do what I have done without the support of my colleagues and the trust they had in me to try and do things differently.
“I feel very privileged to have worked with so many amazing people and teams in my nursing career and to support some of our most vulnerable patients and families.”
Helen qualified as a nurse in January 1987 and later started her midwifery training in 1988.
Helen said: “I have always felt that supporting patients nearing the end of life and their families enables you to truly use your skills as a nurse.
“As a lead nurse I feel passionately about enabling all staff to do the best that they can do, to care with compassion and to enable the patient and their family to be supported with dignity and respect.”
Vanessa Wort, head nurse at Solihull Hospital and Community Services, said the award for Helen was thoroughly deserved.
She added: “I’m so delighted that Helen has been given this richly deserved honour.
“We were all sad to see Helen go last year but what she has left behind is a legacy that defines how we deliver end of life care for people in Solihull.
“The last seven years working with her have been a privilege through which I have learnt so much.”