A SPECIAL book of reflections has started its journey across NHS Forth Valley to document the challenges of the past year.

Covid-19 redefined everyday life in 2020 and this was, without a doubt, most felt in the healthcare sector with nurses and doctors battling the pandemic for more than a year.

The book of reflections will allow NHS Forth Valley staff to recall and reflect on the challenges of the past year, having launched last Wednesday, May 12 – International Nurses Day.

During the pandemic, many nurses were redeployed to take on critical roles while others came out of retirement to help with the coronavirus vaccine roll out.

The initiative was designed by the Forth Valley branch of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), who also asked for one of the hospital's chaplains to lead a minute's silence to remember those lost to the pandemic.

The book will travel across all NHS Forth Valley sites, including the hospital in Larbert and four community hospitals in a bid to collect as many signatures and memories as possible.

Carol Morgan, RCN representative in the Forth Valley, said: "We would like the book to include all staff, not just nurses, as we have all been in this together.

"We already have one nurse who is retiring soon to start the book along with a student nurse.

"Once the book has completed its journey the RCN will present it to the staff of NHS Forth Valley."

Professor Angela Wallace, nurse director at NHS Forth Valley, led tributes to nursing staff last Wednesday.

May 12 is observed each year around the world to mark the contributions that nurses make to society.

It is marked on the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who is regarded as the world's most famous nurse.

Professor Wallace said: "As we celebrate International Nurses Day I want to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to all our nurses for the care, comfort and support given to the people of Forth Valley in what has been one of the most difficult and most challenging years in living memory.

"The Covid-19 pandemic and how nurses have responded to it has demonstrated the importance and impact of nursing across the world.

"The blend and balance of care and compassion, knowledge and skills and of creating new ways of working and supporting so many has been absolutely remarkable.

"There aren't enough words to describe the outstanding work of local staff."