Our Chief Nurse, Michelle McLoughlin, has been awarded a CBE by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of her dedication and compassion helping countless children and young people during her 30 year career.
Proud Brummie, Michelle, has been given the prestigious award in the latest New Year’s Honours announced on 28 December.
After training at the former East Birmingham Hospital, she joined the team at Birmingham Children’s Hospital as a Specialist Liaison Nurse in 1991 – concentrating on helping young people with the most complex needs, particularly those with serious kidney conditions.
For Michelle starting her career at the city’s renowned paediatric hospital fulfilled a lifetime ambition. She explained:
“I grew up on stories of the Children’s Hospital including that of my aunt and uncle’s son, who sadly died at a young age many years ago.
“Within the story of the terrible sadness that the loss of a precious child brought, they told stories of just how amazing the hospital was. It certainly inspired me when choosing my career and I just knew it was where I wanted to be.”
As her career progressed Michelle’s passion to offer the very best possible care and support to young people and their families continued to shine through as she moved into senior nursing management roles before being appointed as Chief Nurse for Birmingham Children’s Hospital in 2007.
This vital role oversees the day-to-day care provided at the specialist paediatric hospital which enjoys a global reputation for excellence in many areas, including the treatment of the most serious kidney, liver and cardiac conditions.
Michelle was an integral part of the team that helped the Children’s Hospital achieve an ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2017 – the first of its type to be awarded the highest possible rating. In the same year she also took on the Chief Nurse role at Birmingham Women’s Hospital following its integration with the Children’s Hospital.
Accepting the norm isn’t something that Michelle does and she has continually pushed the boundaries to improve care – not only in her home city but also across the country. She has pioneered a number of things that have made things better for patients including a dedicated system to improve safety called the Children and Young People’s Safety Thermometer tool and she also led a project to turn plans for the first patient feedback app into a reality.
Respected nationally, she’s Chair of the National Association of Chief Children’s Nurses (ACCN) and leads a national project focusing on safe and sustainable workforce for children and young people’s inpatient hospital care. Earlier this year, Michelle was named as one of the 70 most influential nurses and midwives since 1948 in a joint project celebrating the profession by the Nursing Standard and NHS England as part of the 70th anniversary of the NHS.
Michelle, a proud mum of three and grandmother to three, added:
“Like most people, I was very surprised when I received the news and completely humbled by it. It’s just not something that you ever expect.
“I’ve been in a very privileged position for a number of years in caring for other people’s children. I know just how important that is. It’s brought me so much joy and you simply cannot fail to be inspired by the bravery and tenacity of the young people who are going through such a lot. The same goes for their families; I’m in constant awe of their strength.
“I’m lucky to have had so many role models, a supportive family and many dedicated colleagues, past and present. Without them, I simply could not have achieved this and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
“Every day I’m thankful for being so lucky to have a chance to make a difference. Nursing has given me that opportunity and it’s why I think it’s the best job in the world.”
Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“Michelle is already recognised as the principal children's nurse in the country and I am truly thrilled that her leadership, passion and advocacy has now led to the award of such a senior honour.
“Her commitment to always offer outstanding care to patients and families, never accepting that good enough is good enough is inspiring, and generations of healthcare professionals have undoubtedly learnt from her fierce determination to ensure that every child and young person she is responsible for is looked after like they are a member of her own family.
“In the modern NHS, where many organisations have multiple Matrons, Michelle has always insisted that there will only be one on her watch – and we are all so proud of our Matron today.”