A FORMER nurse from Tenby who worked her way to the top of the health board has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Caroline Oakley has worked in nursing for nearly 37 years and will receive an MBE for services to the nursing profession and NHS Wales from Her Majesty the Queen.

Mrs Oakley began her nursing training in 1980 in London before returning home to Pembrokeshire as a senior nurse with the then health trust in 1995.

By the time she retired last summer, Mrs Oakley was the director of nursing (quality and patient experience) at Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Delighted to receive such a “phenomenal honour” Mrs Oakley said the MBE it was about nursing not herself.

“I love nursing leadership, the honour is not about me it’s about nursing, it’s one for west Wales nurses, they work incredibly hard and it’s the most marvellous profession,” said Mrs Oakley.

She found out about the honour six weeks ago and was sworn to secrecy, not even telling her parents or sister who also still live in Tenby.

“I thought it was a wind up at first. You had to keep it completely under wraps, you can’t tell anyone. Obviously my husband knew because he was there when I opened the envelope but when confidentially is such a big part of your profession when you’re asked to keep it quiet, you do,” added Mrs Oakley.

“I think my parents will be absolutely over the moon and they will be very proud,” she added.

Mrs Oakley, a mother of two, will receive her MBE at an investiture yet to be arranged and will be joined in retirement by her husband in a few weeks.

“Retirement is lovely, I used to work average 12 hour days so to it’s fantastic to have time with my elderly parents and children,” she added.