Northern Trust sweeps the floor at RCN Awards

The Northern Trust celebrated success at the Northern Ireland Royal College of Nursing ‘Nurse of the Year’ Awards last night, with five Northern Trust nurses scooping top honours.

The RCN awards are designed to recognise and highlight excellence in nursing, promote the achievements of the finalists and celebrate the contribution that nursing makes to the health and well-being of the people of NI.  The Trust won five of the 14 categories and was runner up in another.

Eileen McEneaney, Northern Trust Director of Nursing, said “I am extremely proud of the devotion, innovation and quality demonstrated by the Northern Trust nursing staff. At a time when the sector is facing significant challenges it’s wonderful to acknowledge the hard work undertaken by staff on the ground.”

Sharon Love, Falls Injury Prevention Nurse was presented with the Brownlee-Silverdale Leadership award which recognises innovation, strategic leadership and team advocacy.  Sharon worked in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service to identify opportunities that allowed people to remain at home after a fall. The subsequent development of a Falls Team has successfully allowed people to remain at home and supported their recovery in the community.  It has also reduced pressure on ambulance and acute services.

Sally Convery, from Portglenone is a Macmillan Lung Cancer Specialist with the Northern Trust and was awarded joint winner for the Cancer Nurse of the Year award. Sally was recognised for her innovation in developing a screening tool which feeds into a holistic assessment of a person’s other health, mental and social care needs when receiving care for lung cancer. Sally also led on the development of a health and well-being event for people living with lung cancer, allowing them to create and benefit from a support network and encouraging people to self-manage.

Orla Mathews, Ward Sister in the Elderly Assessment Unit at Antrim Area Hospital, from Newtownabbey, won the Team Manager award. Orla was nominated for her commitment to professionally develop her staff to meet the complex and changing needs of a person living with dementia. Orla delivered dementia awareness training to chaplaincy, catering and domestic services and also engaged stakeholders to implement and evaluate a dementia companion role, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. Orla’s efforts resulted in a positive ward culture, dementia friendly environments, and a reduction in falls and distressed behaviours, supporting a positive person centred care experience.

Sarah McCann, an Epilepsy Nurse Specialist from Portglenone, won the Learning Disability Award. Sarah developed Nurse Led Epilepsy Clinics to ensure the additional health care needs of people with learning disabilities were being continually met. Sarah recognised the need to provide this service in a familiar setting to reduce stress and disruption to routine, which resulted in the clinics being held in local Adult Centres. The further development of an Epilepsy Link Nurse Service allowed people to have immediate access to a professional worker who is able to identify and offer support in relation to the risks associated with epilepsy. These initiatives are improving the quality of life for service users in a number of ways including frequent review of epilepsy symptoms and medication and immediate onward referrals to other services.

Paul McAleer, a Mental Health and Learning Disability Forensic Practitioner from Portglenone, won the Inspiring Excellence in Mental Health & Learning Disability for his role in delivering the ‘Second Chance for Change’ psychodrama project. Second Chance for Change, delivered by the Northern Trust’s Promote Team in collaboration with Educational Shakespeare Company, gives service users living with a learning disability the opportunity to reflect on personal traumatic events, identify positive changes and realise their potential for development. The project resulted in a decrease in crisis incidents as well as increased self-esteem and positive social activity for service users.

Ann Gregg, a Dementia Companion who lives and works in Antrim, was runner up in the Health Care Support Worker category. As a Dementia Companion, Ann meets the social needs of people receiving care within the hospital setting who are also living with a dementia. Her dedication to person centred care, consideration for other members of the Companions team, and commitment to using reflective learning to enhance her role for the benefit of service users and staff were just some of the reasons Ann was awarded runner up.

Elizabeth Graham, Northern Trust Assistant Director of Person Centred Practice, Nursing Innovation and Development of Nursing said, “I would like to pay tribute to all of our nurses and teams who were recognised at these prestigious awards. The awards are a wonderful opportunity to highlight the dedication and commitment shown by our staff on a daily basis, in delivering patient care and working to provide the best possible experience for all patients. Well done!”

9th June 2017

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