Nurse of the Year

There are thousands of excellent nurses working in the NHS and independent sector. However, a select few stand out as truly exceptional. One of our most prestigious annual awards, the Nurse of the Year category aims to recognise an individual working in the NHS or independent sector who has gone above and beyond what is expected of them in their day-to-day role and have truly made a difference. Candidates can be at any stage in their nursing career, but should have undertaken a piece of work or delivered a service improvement on their own initiative that has required inspiration, determination and creativity.

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Gill Boast
Staffordshire Training Hub

An inspirational General Practice Nurse (GPN) with 46 years nursing service, starting as a 17yr old in orthopaedics, Gill’s career has spanned a wide range of specialities including Ward Sister, school nursing and for the last 26 years a GPN. Not only has she maintained a clinical role, but she has had a portfolio career, working at advanced practice level, an independent prescriber and a Practice Teacher with a recognised NMC qualification. Gill was a senior lecturer in Health Assessment and Fundamentals of GPN whilst leading the Independent Prescribing module at Wolverhampton University (2017-2021). In 2014, as the CCG Practice nurse lea, Gill was awarded the Queen’s Nurse Title for her commitment to primary care nursing and dedication to education and training. Gill is now the ICB Primary Care Development Nurse for East Staffordshire and undertakes a crucial role within Staffordshire Training Hub as a GPN facilitator supporting the nursing workforce in clinical practice. Gill is well known in the nursing field across the country and highly regarded. Gill has been instrumental in many workstreams, projects and initiatives over the course of her career;WeGPNs Twitter(X) platform, Wound Care service and education, Clinical lead for setting up a PCN nurse led spirometry service post covid. A highly motivated individual, Gill is passionate about Primary Care seeing raising the profile of GPNs a key element for succession planning the workforce. Gill is a key member of the senior leadership team for the groundbreaking Staffordshire General Practice Nursing Foundation School developing and supporting the next generation of GPNs. It is a pleasure to work with Gill in this field, she is fundamentally kind, a dedicated nurse and supporter of the nursing workforce going over and above the realms of the job description!

Phillipa Cain
Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust

Phillipa has been a Matron over the Older Adult Wards at Harbour Hospital for 2 years. During this time she has been instrumental on leading on cultural change and developments that have succeeded in gaining Gold Accreditation status. Phillipa is currently undertaking further work to gain Platinum status and submitting all the evidence to gain their QNOAMHS accreditation. Furthermore Phillipa has a passion for supporting quality improvement and has lead on key projects for the services such as reducing falls collaborative, supporting carers and relatives with visits in a meaningful way and the introduction of red to green and peer support workers on the dementia wards. This have been recognised at a trust level and gained recognition through conferences and award schemes. Phillipa’s passion for supporting teams is evident, she has undertaken her Professional Nurse Advocate Qualification is an active lead across the unit supporting staff with restorative supervisions. Phillipa is keen to support all 10 wards in delivering meaningful supervisions; giving staff/teams opportunity to reflect and grow. Furthermore, through the work she does as a Workplace Trauma Support she debriefs staff following incidents and offers ongoing meaningful support. The establishment of the Big Food Truck has been a massive success in supporting both staff and patients and recognises the hardships that cost of living has on people. Through liaison with the charity she was able to set up The Harbour as a stop on the route, the charity attend every Wednesday, patients volunteer their time to support the food bank setting up and then provide ongoing support to those accessing the service, bringing purpose to patients and providing a service. Staff are then able to access the food bank, taking home meals for the family for a reduced price enabling them to feel physically supported within their roles.

Lisa Canade
Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust

I am delighted to nominate Lisa for her inspiring and innovative efforts in enhancing health education by amplifying the voices of children, resulting in significant impact and outstanding outcomes.As a school nurse, Lisa's role is to carry out training with school staff on medical conditions. Lisa noted a gap in health education for children regarding various medical conditions which can affect their own peer group. Lisa actively listened to the children and observed their curiosity and sometimes concern about their peers medical condition due to lack of understanding. Lisa took her idea a step further with a vision to use the voices, imagery and lived experience of children with health conditions to teach others about their health condition using an age appropriate and child friendly resource of an animation. This idea resulted in the first two animations being Type 1 diabetes and allergies  Taking the initiative to create an animation for health conditions demonstrated innovation and forward-thinking leadership. Lisa identified a creative and effective approach to promoting health education within a school setting. She created a resource accommodating a diverse population of children to learn about health conditions, create understanding, recognise health warning signs and to enhance health literacy. The inspiration was to also encourage empathy, understanding and reduce misconceptions and possible stigmas. Lisa demonstrated strong communication skills working through challenges and being an advocate for the children involved in the animation. Her passion for this innovative idea as well as her job as a School Nurse, held peoples interest and opened their minds to try something slightly different. Lisa engaged professionally as a leader to gain support for the idea and collaborating with other health professionals, teams and outside agencies.

Jill Davies
DHU Healthcare

In 2021, a proof-of-concept pilot project was initiated by the CCG (the Palliative Care Urgent Response Service (PCURS)), to care for people whose wish is to remain at home, despite their urgent palliative health care needs. Responding to crisis situations, the service provides one off and ad hoc visits help to keep patients at home and out of hospital, with forward referral to other teams for ongoing care needs provision. The PCURS was developed for the adult population and staffed with adult trained nurses and practitioners. In 2022, the PCURS was approached by paediatric services to ask for our support to extend the service to the children of Derbyshire to give dying children and families the option to die at home. Collaboration between the PCURS, Paediatric Oncology Team at Nottingham and the Derbyshire Children’s Nursing Team has enabled the choice to die at home to be a realistic option. The teams have worked together to establish safe and effective working relationships and support for each other to enable this to happen. Communication, care planning, medication doses and plans, establishing 24-hour support for adult staff and debriefing opportunities following death, have all been established to make a home death possible. As the Palliative Care Clinical Lead, Jill has been tireless in firstly establishing the PCURS for Adults, before getting the service extended for Children. Her enthusiasm, dedication, and willingness to roll up her sleeves and lead by example has been infectious. Her compassion for patients, families and her colleagues has underpinned her commitment to establish a high-quality service that meets the needs of patients and families to be cared for effectively at home. She has created a team of skilled, knowledgeable, motivated, and compassionate staff who go out of their way to support patients and families to remain safely at home.

Oliver Field
Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust

Oliver has pioneered original and creative ways of reducing restrictive practices on our Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit, and Acute Mental Health Unit. He has also supported other wards to adopt similar projects to share in the benefit and learning. As a keen cyclist, Oliver was aware of the personal benefits that exercise and getting outdoors provides, and he wanted to find a way to support patients to have that same experience. Oliver therefore started a cycling initiative across our 2 mental health wards at the Scarisbrick Unit in Ormskirk. Oliver has a positive and creative approach to supporting his patients, and has successfully taken patients on bike rides not long after a period of requiring seclusion, such is his clinical and interpersonal skills, commitment to a least restrictive approach to nursing, and dynamic risk taking. As a result of this project we have met key quality improvement markers including improving physical health, reducing incidents on the ward and providing more meaningful activities on the wards. Oliver has worked collaboratively with numerous internal and external organisations in order to achieve best outcomes for our service users. This has included Lancashire Police, bike repair shops, LSCFT senior management and the British Cycling Association. Oliver constantly strives to improve patient outcomes and maintains a professional, compassionate and respectful attitude. Oliver enjoys advocating on behalf of others. He has a strong desire to positively influence best practice, challenge bad practice and embrace a more positive, open and collaborate culture.

Aileen Fraser
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

Aileen is a force of nature within the world of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), passionate and professional, she uses her years of experience to advocate not just for patients within her own service living with the conditions, but at a national and international level. She has been involved in multiple initiatives within the field of IBD care. Some of her most influential work has been in developing understanding about and improving clinical care for patients with IBD in regards to sexuality, pregnancy and childbirth. She has been able to use her experience, knowledge and networking skills to be influential in multidisciplinary national and international work within this area and promote good practice and service improvements with proven benefits for patients.

Catherine Harrison
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Cathy is an Advanced nurse Practitioner in the Haemophilia and Haemostasis Disorders centre at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It is a Comprehensive Care Centre providing a range of services for adults with haemophilia, von Willebrand’s disease, other inherited coagulation factor deficiencies & inherited platelet disorders. It also provides the NHS England Specialised Commissioned service for TTP. In addition to inherited bleeding disorders, the Centre provides care for people with acquired bleeding disorders, ITP, TTP & complex thrombosis conditions e.g. antiphospholipid syndrome & inherited thrombophilia’s. Cathy has served the blood and bleeding disorders community for over 19 years. She has aided international patients, received numerous certifications, conducted original research, co-authored many papers, regularly volunteers with the haemophilia society, and is an outstanding nurse in every way. Cathy is lead for the national course for nurses and allied health professionals caring for people living with bleeding disorders, this is an annual course accredited by the University of Middlesex that ensures provision of essential, up to date education for anyone new into the field, she is also part of a wider group of nurses nationally evaluating the advanced nursing role within bleeding disorders care & core to the development of further education materials. Cathy has dedicated her entire professional life to the haemophilia community. She is a staunch advocate for patients, always demonstrating the highest regard for patient safety and care both within the hospital setting and beyond. She is an advocate for the specialist nurses role in long term conditions and has particular interests in ageing, transition, women, education, research and service development. Most importantly is that Cathy has dutifully, energetically and with great care and compassion taken care of probably over 1000 different patients with bleeding disorders including at least three generations in some families.

Ediscyll Lorusso
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

I am deeply honoured to write this nomination of Ediscyll Lorusso for the Nurse of the Year . I have known Ediscyll for the past 25 years and I can attest that, in every aspect of her professional career, she has distinguished herself. Ediscyll’s exemplar career is a model for the nursing profession. First, with her 26 years of nursing experience in various clinical settings and academia, Ediscyll as a Filipino overseas nurse have transferrable skills and experience in organisational development and leadership. Ediscyll is acutely aware of the current challenges facing the NHS which have impacted the effective delivery of patient care especially with pregnant patients at high risk of blood clot. Since joining St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as a staff nurse in 2000, Ediscyll has become a passionate advocate for thrombosis prevention, organising regular campaigns, study days, teachings sessions and other initiatives for staff and the community.

Andrena Mierkalns
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Andrena Mierkalns has had a long career of 50 years in nursing, and she has been with us for 23 years in Hepatology, working as an Advanced Liver Specialist Nurse and leading a team of specialist nurses. I want to nominate her because of her contributions to the service and her passion for educating nursing staff and other colleagues. This has done much to maintain a high-quality service for our patients. She is a qualified and experienced Nurse educator and recently, she came up with an innovative idea and introduced a new service for the patients diagnosed with liver cirrhosis. To help this patient group trying to cope with their life-long condition, Andy designed an innovative 18-month programme to provide dedicated education and surveillance for these patients in a group setting. This way she is not only helping the service to meet the demand but also providing an opportunity for patients to become more knowledgeable, confident and able to manage their irreversible condition and aim for healthy life-style choices. Andy realised the contribution of other staff groups could made towards effective care delivery within Hepatology. Andy designed a “Healthy Liver Course” to educate Support and Administrative staff from within the team. I believe Andy deserves this award due to her continued enthusiasm to motivate herself and others within the team. Over a period of time, she not only developed Liver service but was also keen to try new and innovative ideas to advance the quality of care delivery. She has delivered comprehensive staff education programmes every year since 2001 and I have witnessed many nurses inspired by these courses who go on to develop their careers in Hepatology.

Jaypee Palis Amada
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

My name is Jaypee Palis, also known as “Jia”. I am currently a Nurse Manager in Main Outpatients of Colchester Hospital, where I have started my health-inequalities project and research for Colour Blind (Colour Vision Deficiency) population; I am also the provisional Nurse Modern Matron for the Vaccination Programmes of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, where we started working with Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Boards regarding vaccinating eligible paediatrics age 5 to 17 with COVID 19; and The Chair for the LGBTQ+ Network of the same trust, where I started to pioneer Rainbow Pasteur, a combined network to support overseas staffs who came over from their country to the UK and has got concerns about their gender identity and sexuality. Moreover, I am also working with the Head of Chaplaincy and the Open Table network to support Christian groups to find inclusive churches for both Ipswich and Colchester. I was encouraged by my colleague from Florence Nightingale Academy to submit a self-nomination of everything that I do in my Trust. First, my project is entitled COLOUR B-LINED: Translating Colours. My project deals with health inequalities and I chose to be non-conventional that focuses on the agenda of Health Inequalities Team in our trust. I chose to focus on accessibility. Second, I started the special clinic for COVID-19 vaccination booster programme to 5-17yr olds who are at risk according to tables 3 and 4 in the Green Book Chapter 14a. Lastly, the Rainbow Pasteur and Open Oasis Project to address inequalities with the LGBTQ+ Population of the trust.

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

Rebecca began her role as a junior sister setting up the Paedaitric Virtual Ward service, within 6 months of her role she progressed into deputy ward manager for the service and in under 12 months she had further progressed into the clinical nurse specialist for the paediatric virtual ward. Not only has Rebecca been pivotal to developing the Paediatric Virtual ward but she has been central to initiating new clinical pathways. Rebecca has worked closely to engage speciality consultants to develop speciality pathways into the ward, one of which was the nephrotic pathway enabling children and young people with nephrotic syndrome to continue their care at home aswell as managing their relapses by treating at home as oppose to re admitting into an acute hospital bed. Rebecca has strong critical thinking skills and has built trust with speciality teams to help explore alternative routes to hospital through acute care at home. Rebecca worked to become a prescriber where she is now able to initiate treatment for paediatric patients within the comfort of their own home, this has been a vital part of the success of this service. Rebecca has a clear vision to continue to rapidly expand developing paediatric same day emergency care pathways to respond to patients referred from their primary care services. The impact this has had on acute services has been incredible in reducing attendances and relieving pressure on acute services but most importantly it has enabled children to stay at home. Rebecca also initiated bringing patients with Henoch Schonlein purpura into the virtual ward reducing clinic time and releasing clinical consultant Importantly this has enabled children to attend school as the virtual ward has accommodated their care around school reducing the impact on their education from no longer needing to attend frequent hospital appointments.