Carol Hollington, currently a core midwife in the Antenatal Clinic, was given a hearty and emotional send-off from colleagues in maternity after 32 years in a variety of roles.
Carol, who lives in Bilston, trained as a nurse at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital in 1985 and moved to Walsall in 1990, completing her midwifery training.
Based at the Manor, Carol was appointed the Trust’s first governance midwife in Maternity and was also governance matron before returning to clinical practice in 2013, where she became maternity inpatient matron for seven years, responsible for around 150 staff.
The triple loss of Carol's sister Susan at the age of 55, mother Judy at 78 and father-in-law Joe at 79 – as well as her husband being diagnosed with sepsis – all in the space of 18 months during the Covid-19 pandemic saw Carol opt to swap senior management to return to being a midwife.
"I have had a fantastic career, took the opportunities I have had, enjoyed networking and made some great friends," said Carol.
"But I have reached a stage where I want to get a better work-life balance and enjoy my life more, now my children are older."
Reflecting on her career, Carol feels pride at the development not just of staff, but of the decisions she’s made or shared that have had a positive impact on those around her, as well as the mothers of Walsall.
She said: "One of the things that makes me feel proud and privileged is to see doctors, midwives and healthcare assistants develop from when they were students, to one day running a service.
"I’ve seen junior doctors who are now consultants here and seeing how we nurture people makes me feel very proud.
"The NHS is a fantastic place to do that but you have to be willing to put the work in.
"I’m also very proud to have looked after the women of Walsall, not only delivering care but being able to influence change.
"We have made small changes to have made big differences in improving pathways.
"An example is changing to BadgerNet from hand held notes, which means women’s notes are available whether they have their baby in Walsall or another NHS Trust.
"It’s been a varied career and it’s not always been easy; it’s been hard work but I have thoroughly enjoyed it."
Carol won’t be lost to the Trust for long though– she will return in the same role next month, but instead work three days a week.
Mother of two Carol, whose children Nathan and Niamh are 22 and 18, wants to spend more time travelling abroad with Carl, her husband of 24 years who is also going to semi-retire from his career as an HGV driver.