The RCNi Nurse Awards 2020 provide an opportunity to show what great work you are doing

Nominate yourself or a colleague for these prestigious nursing awards and you could be RCN Nurse of the Year in 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

  • Entering or nominating a colleague for the RCNi Nurse Awards 2020 can help boost your specialty and career development
  • 2019’s winner in the Cancer Nursing category now has a platform to influence care
  • The RCN Nurse of the Year 2020 will be chosen from the category winners

Nurse Awards

The RCNi Nurse Awards 2020 are open for entries, with past winners highlighting the ‘life-changing’ boost it has given their projects, profiles and practice.

In the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the profession’s most prestigious accolades offer opportunities for nurses, students and nursing support workers to share their practice innovations by entering the 11 categories.

Cancer nursing categories

The categories available for cancer nurses include Cancer Research UK (CRUK)-sponsored Excellence in cancer research nursing, Innovations in your specialty, Team of the year, Nursing support worker and Advanced nurse practitioner.

The RCN Nurse of the Year 2020 will be chosen from the category winners and announced at the awards ceremony in London on 8 July. Deadline for entries is 17 January.

Enter the awards today

Macmillan gynaecology clinical nurse specialist Amy Dugdale won the Cancer nursing category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2019 for establishing a nurse-led BRCA gene testing clinic that secured access to a life-extending drug for her patients with ovarian cancer.

'I was nominated by one of my gynaecology consultants Sumita Bhuiya,' says Ms Dugdale. 'Reading her view of my work made me feel incredibly proud as I’d never really looked at my work in that way and it made me see what a difference I was making for my patients.

'The judging process was terrifying, exhilarating and amazing in equal measure. The judges were welcoming and interested in what I had to say. I don’t think I have ever felt as incredible about my work as I did when I walked out of that room. I am so proud to be a nurse and it felt amazing to have a group of such inspiring and powerful nurses so interested in what I have done.'

More determined to highlight areas where practice needs to be changed or developed

She found the day and evening of the awards ‘an amazing opportunity to meet other very diverse enthusiastic and innovative professionals, discuss developments and ideas’.

‘From my trust’s perspective the award has given me more confidence in myself and my work and I’ve been more determined to highlight areas where practice needs to be changed or developed. It has made me look at my practice more reflectively and given me the mind-set that anything is possible and to push for development and change within the service.’

Several trusts have asked her for advice and assistance in helping them develop nurse-led BRCA testing. ‘This is life-changing for so many patients and if my service can be replicated across the country then this will have a phenomenal impact on patient care and treatment,’ says Ms Dugdale. ‘I am working hard to try to ensure this happens.

'The award has refreshed my love and passion for my vocation and job'

Amy Dugdale, winner of the Cancer nursing category at the RCNi Nurse Awards 2019

‘The award has brought recognition to our small trust and gynae service which is something I am very proud of. I would 100% recommend entering the awards or nominating a colleague. I was so excited the 2020 awards have been launched and have been suggesting nominations in my trust.

‘Even being nominated brought me a new-found confidence and passion of my work that I didn’t realise was missing until this experience. It has made me want to do more to improve the care and services I provide and it has refreshed my love and passion for my vocation and job.’

Award-winning nurse-led research into sarcoma

Rachel Taylor won the CRUK-sponsored Excellence in cancer research category in 2019 for her work developing a patient-reported outcome measure specific to sarcoma. She was also a finalist in 2017 for her work leading BRIGHTLIGHT, a programme of research evaluating teenage and young adult cancer services in England.

Dr Taylor says winning the award has helped raised the profile of sarcoma and the experiences of patients. ‘Sarcoma is a rare cancer but winning this award means lots more nurses know about it which is absolutely brilliant,’ she adds.

‘We had such a magical night. One of my patient representatives came down from Manchester to join our table and by the end of the night wanted to know how she could become a cancer nurse because when she looked around the room there were so many inspiring people working in all these incredible areas.

‘I would absolutely recommend people enter the awards or nominate a colleague. It really does give you the opportunity to showcase what great work you are doing and we don’t sell ourselves very well. We keep ourselves in the background but we should be sharing what we do.’

RCN Nurse of the Year put her specialty in the spotlight

RCNi Nurse of the Year 2019 Taurai Matare
RCN Nurse of the Year 2019 Taurai Matare. Picture: Barney Newman

Matron Taurai Matare is the current RCN Nurse of the Year. She developed her hospital’s ophthalmology service and its nursing team, bringing together separate eye casualty, outpatients and theatres to create a single, modern eye treatment centre on one site. She was a finalist in the emergency nursing category for her rapid eye triage that saw a team of emergency nurse practitioners reduce the quarterly number of breaches of the four-hour standard from 118 to five.

Ms Matare, who works for Barts Health NHS Trust, says: ‘I didn’t realise what a huge thing it was nationally and internationally to be the RCN Nurse of the Year, but I’ve been networking with nurses around the UK and the world, and from all specialties,’ she says.

‘I met the prime minister when he came to my workplace, Whipps Cross Hospital in London, and I’ve been invited to present my work in Australia and in Singapore.

‘Winning the award has put the specialty I am so passionate about – ophthalmology – in the spotlight.

‘So many hospitals and ophthalmology teams want to visit our unit and see what we do, and so many nurses and nursing support workers are interested in working here that we now have a waiting list.’

Flying the flag for ophthalmology

‘Many colleagues have emailed and phoned to congratulate me on flying the flag for ophthalmology,’ she says.

‘I have loved being able to raise its profile as a nursing career and we have definitely put it right up there in our trust.

‘I absolutely recommend that nurses enter the RCNi Nurse Awards. Submit your nominations – you get to have so many experiences you would never have dreamed of.’