The NHS Forth Valley Nurses Choir was born from an idea for Nurses Day which a couple of us put to our Director of Nursing, Professor Angela Wallace – she thought it was a great idea.
It didn’t happen immediately for various reasons including having someone to lead a Choir – so as a challenge she made it one of my objectives! It took ages to find someone to lead the Choir, however after some time and through a colleague (who is also a member of the choir), we found the lovely Phillip Todd.
He comes with a wealth of experience, as an actor, film editor, an award winning mod singer, and graduate of the Royal Conservatoire….. The Military Wives have Gareth Malone, but WE got the amazing Phil.
And so the Choir formed in September 2014.
By Christmas that year, we had sung for the Friends of the Hospital, the Health Board at the end of their meeting just before Christmas and the Patient Public Panel at their 10th Anniversary Celebration.
In addition we sang in the wards of one of our Community Hospitals. What a lovely heart-warming experience that was! In the dementia ward in particular, the patients sang along with the choir, every word they sang and their families were so delighted. We as nurses were all pretty emotional about that!
Funny story…..We had been asked to sing for the NHS Forth Valley Board Members at the end of their meeting, just before Christmas. The hospital capacity had been challenging. I am usually in charge of the music. I use my personal iPhone to play the music via blue tooth through speakers – so in general I stand at the front and at the end of the row.
As I am no technician I hold the iPod in my hand so I can start and stop the music etc. At the end of the singing for the Board Members, a very senior Doctor came up to me and said well done Rita, How is capacity – what’s happening? as she looked to my phone in my hand? I looked at her puzzled? Then realised that she thought I had been texting back and fore – dishing out orders or something – as we were singing!! I mean really?? I explained nicely that it was the music I was in charge of! How I wish I was that smart!
We are very lucky to occasionally be able sing the Atrium of our lovely new hospital and as we do so we gather money for various charities, usually one which a choir member has nominated.
One year later in September 2015 we were nominated by members of the public for a Staff Award in the Volunteers category……. WE WON! What a great achievement that has been for us [pictured].
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) asked us to entertain them at their Reps Conference in October 2015 in Edinburgh. We were to sing 7 songs. We were extremely nervous about that I guess, having a fear that it would not go down well. Fear not! Our singing went down a storm. The audience (all nurses) know how to enjoy themselves. You just have to picture a scene of a sea of people standing at the back their mobile phones in hand with the torch switched on and them swaying back a fore – it was so funny but gave the choir a good feeling. They gave us a standing ovation!
Christmas time was very busy for us. We were asked to be part of a Christmas concert for charity. Some of our local doctors and nurses were heading out to Tanzania to man a ship called the Voyage of Hope and they needs funds – I guess that was our real first big audience. It was a truly exhilarating experience for the Choir. The feedback we got was tremendous and gave us a real boost in confidence.
The Nursing Standard got to hear about the Nurses Choir and came to meet with us and arranged a photographer to come along to take photos as we were singing in the Hospital Atrium one day. They wrote “Forth Valley Nurses’ Choir is making a name for itself by singing at hospitals and charity events. Their audiences – including people with dementia – experience emotional release during the songs, while the nurses benefit from the camaraderie and wellbeing associated with singing in a choir” We made the front cover of the Christmas Edition of the Nursing Standard. Wow!
2016 has seen us grow and grow. While continuing to recruit more members we continued to sing different songs together. The Choir is made up of many fields of nursing, all designations of nurses and in true nurse style have developed a fantastic team where everyone works together, something I personally, am proud of nurses for. We wear uniform in public and we are proud to be nurses and represent nursing.
This year has seen us take parproud to be nurses and represent nursingt in the opening Ceremony of the Royal College of Nursing Congress – a HUGE event for nursing. We are proud to have been asked. During the ceremony our Nurse Director, Professor Angela Wallace, was given a tremendous award of a Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing in recognition of her work for nursing. Another proud moment for us, the Nurses Choir and for her to be honoured…… we were present woop wooping! A great day for NHS Forth Valley Nurses.
We also were asked by the RCN to represent nursing as well as sing at the Scottish Government State Opening of Parliament celebrations. Some of got to wear old-style uniforms dating back to the early 20th century. It was a thrilling day being part of the procession down the Royal Mile as well as getting to do what we love…. SINGING.
We are having our summer break right now but are due to start back in early September with already a charity concert booked at the end of September….. I wonder what the rest of 2016/2017 will bring for us?
© Rita Ciccu-Moore and Lynne Paterson, NHS Forth Valley
2 September 2016
You can view the Choir singing here: