Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust’s Deputy Chief Nurse has been awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of her dedication and passion for helping patients during a career spanning more than three decades.
Yvonne Millard MBE, who has been given the prestigious title in the New Year’s Honours announced today (27 December), has been by the side of countless young people and their families at the city’s Children’s Hospital for the last 23 years.
Her passion for her much-loved profession and delivering the best possible care has been unwavering since first qualifying in 1989 at the former Dudley Road Hospital.
Throughout her career she’s been a true champion of nursing and has always been on hand to support the next generations of her colleagues; offering understanding and continually looking at ways of improving experiences for young people, loved ones and her teams.
She’s recognised as a leader and innovator in her field, uncompromising about the standards she believes patients deserve but also always looking to innovate to make things better.
In the early 2000s Yvonne led a nurse-led discharge programme that ensured patients were able to go home earlier – sometimes reducing the length of hospital stays by days. The method introduced a new way of working recognising that children wanted to go home as soon as possible, and nurses could make that happen.
Mum-of-two Yvonne, a proud Brummie, explained that her fantastic news came as a bit of a shock when she first found out. The 51-year-old said:
“When I first opened the letter I was convinced it was my sister playing a joke. She works at the Children’s Hospital too, but I couldn’t ask her because it stated very clearly that the details were in the strictest confidence. I spent the entire day pacing around in disbelief - things like this just don’t happen to ordinary people like me. I still don’t think it has sunk in.”
Since first qualifying, Yvonne’s knowledge skill and commitment has seen her rise in seniority of roles. Always a “nurse first and foremost”, she has held a number of positions including being an Educational Practitioner and, as a senior nurse, she played an important role in the Children’s Hospital becoming the first of its kind to be rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2017. A rating it retained earlier this year.
Improving the experience of patients and families while being cared for has always been something Yvonne has been passionate about. She was instrumental in creating a sensory garden, which opened in 2014 to help children with disabilities. She led the project that offered a dedicated space to help ease anxiety and make visits less daunting.
Yvonne, who remembers how a gift when she was 10 years old of a nurse’s uniform and bag started her interest in what has been a lifelong career, is as passionate as ever when it comes to making things better for patients, families and staff. She said:
“I have the absolute honour of caring for children, young people and families every day, often at a very difficult time for them. I cannot think of a more rewarding way to spend my days. I can honestly say I have treasured each and every moment.”
Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are immensely proud of Yvonne, who is so deserving of this recognition.
“All of our nurses and midwives are passionate about offering the very best care for our women, children, young people and families but you would have to go a long way to find anyone more professional, motivated and standards-driven than Yvonne".
“We are so fortunate to have her as part of our team and look forward to her day at the Palace when we will share in her joy and achievement.”