Success for Southern nurses at RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Awards
28/05/2014Six local nurses based at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust have received awards at the RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Awards 2014. Organised by the Royal College of Nursing, this is the eighteenth year of the awards, which took place at the Culloden Hotel, Holywood.
Marie Doran, from Dungannon, won the Public Health Award, sponsored by the Public Health Agency and Health and Social Care Board. Marie, who is Deputy Head of Health Visiting and School Nursing at the Southern Trust was nominated for her work in improving and transforming the school nursing service in the trust.
On her appointment in 2011, Marie reviewed the existing service. Through consultation and negotiation, she established a trust-wide school immunisation team and reconfigured the rest of the service to enable school nurses to focus on public health and safeguarding.
They are now able to provide more targeted support to school age children, particularly those on the child protection register and looked-after children. The judging panel commended Marie’s courage and leadership, her capacity to care for and value staff and, most importantly, the improved outcomes for children.
Health Visitor Karen Moore, from Lisburn, won the Learning in Practice Award, sponsored by the Open University. Karen was nominated for the support she provided to a nurse who, although qualified as a health visitor for over 25 years, had not practised in this role since 1999.
While the aim of the placement, initially, was to update professional skills and practice, such was the impact of working with Karen that the nominator was inspired to return to working part-time as a family health visitor.
She says: “Working with Karen has been an enormous privilege. The respect with which she treats clients, colleagues and students is exemplary. Her practice is driven by the goal of ensuring the best outcomes for the families that she serves.” The judging panel commended Karen for her inspirational, compassionate and caring qualities.
Dolores Kane, from Galbally, won the Bamford Vision Award for Mental Health and Learning Disability, sponsored by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. Dolores works within child and adolescent mental health services in the Southern Trust and was nominated for her leadership of a number of initiatives that have had a direct impact on the emotional and mental health of children and young people.
Dolores’ nominator says that she has been key in making the Bamford Vision a reality and “is a great example of a nurse who leads the way in transforming services, raising standards and enhancing provision” and adds that she “is energetic, driven, enthusiastic and dedicated to child and adolescent mental health.”
Anne Toal, from Middletown, was runner-up in the Learning in Practice Award, sponsored by the Open University. Deputy ward sister at the Gillis Memory Centre, a unit for people with dementia at St Luke’s Hospital, Armagh, Anne was nominated for the learning in practice she gives to health care assistants. She has encouraged colleagues to challenge and improve their existing practice, develop new ideas and their knowledge and confidence.
With Anne’s support, the participants successfully completed the programme and are now able to recognise the impact of dementia and needs of patients, looking beyond the condition to promote person-centred care. The judges were impressed by the impact Anne has had in a difficult care environment and with how she identified the need for change, recognising the role of families and carers, and the importance of challenging existing practice to improve outcomes.
Alison Robinson and Emma Laird, from Portadown, received a commendation in the Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Award. As advanced paediatric nurse practitioners, Alison and Emma were nominated for the development of a nurse-led Paediatric Decision Unit at Craigavon Area Hospital. Alison and Emma saw the need to modernise and improve the service by developing a paediatric decision unit within the in-patient ward.
They established an advice line to provide support and guidance for colleagues, improving access to specialist paediatric care. In addition, they designed and implemented an ambulatory service. The service has reduced in-patient admissions, length of stay and there has been a 25% reduction in admissions to the ward since the opening in February 2013.
Their nominator says: “Together they have significantly improved children’s services in the Southern Trust, providing timely and responsive access to highly trained, experienced staff.”
An award to celebrate outstanding achievement in nursing, sponsored by the Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council (NIPEC) was presented to former health visitor Margaret Graham, from Belfast. Now retired, Margaret spent many years working in North and West Belfast, leading many initiatives in that community, and was heavily involved in the work of Corrymeela. She is also is co-editor of the book Nurses Voices from the Northern Ireland Troubles. This book is dedicated to all nurses, midwives and health visitors who worked through the Northern Ireland Troubles and to those for whom they cared. Margaret was instrumental in driving forward the project to put together the book and gather the stories, that for many, have remained untold until now.
The overall title of RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year 2014 went to Bernie Michaelides, Head of Intermediate Care and lead nurse for adult community nursing at the Western Health and Social Care Trust. Bernie received the award for establishing an acute clinical intervention centre based at Tyrone County Hospital, Omagh, which provides treatment and care for patients in their local community. She was presented with the accolade by Health Minister Edwin Poots MLA.
Commenting on the Awards, RCN Northern Ireland Director Janice Smyth said: “Our winner demonstrates exactly how nurses can contribute to the reform of services and making health care better, more appropriate and more accessible for patients and their families.
“Despite ongoing challenges, it is clear that nurses are leading the way in Transforming your Care. Sometimes this is through establishing new and innovative services and at other times through health promotion and early intervention to reduce the need for people to require treatment and care in the first place.
“I am extremely encouraged by the excellence and innovation shown by nurses from across Northern Ireland, who continue to be committed to improving services and care for patients. Congratulations to all of our winners who are a credit to the nursing profession.”