STUNNED and surprised, Betty Williamson says her British Empire Medal is a shared honour between herself, the Borders General Hospital and the ophthalmic unit in particular where she has been the charge nurse for seven years, writes Bob Burgess.
The eye department is staffed by three consultants and 13 part-time nurses, and treats around 9,500 patients each year.
Betty, 57, told TheSouthern: “We like this unit to be efficient and effective and that is up to the people who work here. It is thanks to all the staff – past and present – that I have received this award. You cannot do what I do on your own, it’s all about being a team. This is a shared honour which is good for the Borders General Hospital.
Chairman of NHS Borders John Raine told us: “This prestigious award shows that the extra effort Betty has put in to her work is appreciated by everyone around her – colleagues and patients alike. We are very proud of Betty, her award is well deserved.”
But Betty admitted: “When I received the letter offering me the award I thought it was a wind up. However, when I realised it was genuine, I had no hesitation in accepting.”
Betty started training at the former Peel Hospital in 1971 as a State Enrolled Nurse and moved to the BGH when it opened in 1988. She joined the ophthalmic unit in 1995 under specialist training from staff from the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion in Edinburgh and obtained a BSc Honours in Nursing with Health from Napier University.
Brought up near Clovenfords, she married David and moved to Selkirk but now lives at nearby Bowhill. Daughter Karen lives in Galashiels.