“I knew I always wanted to be a nurse, there was no plan B for me,” recalls Carole Holland, Divisional Director of Nursing for Surgery at Salford Care Organisation.
Carole’s love for nursing started as a young child, when she remembers she was always dressing up in a nurse’s outfit, “if I hadn’t become a nurse, I truly don’t know what I would have done instead,” says Carole.
Perhaps the inspiration to become a nurse came from her neighbour Barbara Jacques, who was a nursing sister at Leigh Infirmary.
“I used to sit on the garden wall and wait for her to come home from work so I could say hello and ask about her day.”
Barbara not only inspired Carole’s career choice, but she also supported it too by helping to coach Carole during her application process to nursing school and even providing a recommendation.
After successfully getting into Salford School of Nursing as a pupil nurse, Carole commenced her training with Salford Health Authority on 2 January 1979 and on qualifying as an Enrolled Nurse in January 1981 was placed in Outpatients at Salford Royal Hospital, Chapel Street. It was here she attained her Senior Enrolled Nurse status.
In May of 1985 Carole commenced a shortened course for her Registered General Nurse (RGN) training and qualified in July 1987 when she moved to the Surgical Division here at Salford Care Organisation. This is where she stayed and gained many surgical experiences as a staff nurse until 2001 when she moved to the Women’s and Children’s Division to further enhance her skills and knowledge.
“For me surgery was always exciting giving me variety and new skill sets. It was so rewarding and fulfilling to see a sick, poorly patient get well and go home to a normal life with their loved ones’’
Carole has two daughters Jessica and Emily and she continued to work following her maternity leaves advancing her skills.
Carole attained a Specialist Nurse role within Gynaecology and took on a role with the Unplanned Pregnancy service. There she took on the task of setting up Salford’s very first Unplanned Pregnancy Medical Termination Service and redesigned the Surgical Termination Service. It was at this time she attained with her Lead Nurse a commendation for these services at the 2006 Nursing Times Awards.
She worked with the women seeking help with the service during each step of the process by providing counselling, contraception advice, supporting them during admission and looking after them following their procedure.
“I looked after these women holistically and wanted to ensure they were cared for in a judgement free environment. I wanted to ensure that I was with them through their journey with the service and so they only had to share their story once as often that was the most traumatic part.
“I have to say, the work I did in this area and with these women has to be one of the highlights of my career and a time that brought me immense job satisfaction.”
In fact, Carole says her whole career has been a privilege, from starting as a pupil/student nurse to working her way up through the surgical division to where she currently sits as Divisional Director of Nursing.
“I have had such an amazing career, being coached and nurtured, there is nothing I would change. I’ve worked with some fabulous people who encouraged me to take on new challenges and push myself. It has been an absolute honour to be part of the Salford team.’’
“I can retire in June and honestly say that I have achieved more than I ever thought I would, from being a staff nurse, to a specialist nurse, ward manager, matron, lead nurse, ADNS, deputy DDN, and the last four years as Divisional Director of Nursing for Surgery and Peri-Operative Care. I couldn’t have asked for anything more out of my time here at Salford. Not to mention the fact that I’ve worked with some brilliant people many of whom have become my friends and remain so.”
So, what’s next for Carole as she moves into this next phase in her life?
“I’m going to spend some time with my family and friends. My Husband Steve is retiring too, so we plan on spending lots of time at our cottage in the Cotswolds. We have been married for 42 years, so its about time we did some travelling and had some downtime together.”
Although it won’t all be rest and relaxation as we have a two-year-old granddaughter, Amelia to chase about after! I’m looking forward to watching her grow up and to spending more time with my daughters Jessica and Emily. Of course, I will miss everyone at Salford terribly, and it will be hard saying goodbye”
After 44.5 years of working at Salford Royal and forging a very successful career, we asked Carole to leave us with some parting words,
“Someone once said to me ‘Never say Never’ and it really resonated. I even have a plaque with those words on it that used to sit on by dressing table and I would look at it every morning.
The reason that saying means so much to me is because you never know what the next chapter in your life is going to hold, so it’s important to embrace each opportunity that comes your way as you never know where it will lead.
I have since passed the plaque onto my daughter Emily who was facing some tough decisions and encourage her to ‘Never say Never’ and embrace the chances life gives us, she has since made a life for herself in Germany with her partner and has a very successful career.”