Nurse Awards

Nurse consultants’ collaboration improves practice across UK

Winner: A team of nurse consultants has developed a health equalities framework (HEF) that is improving the healthy life expectancy of people with learning disabilities.

Nurse award finalistsFrom left to right: Dave Atkinson, Crispin Hebron, Gwen Moulster, Phil Boulter. Picture credit: Tim George

In the wake of the Winterbourne View scandal, and in response to continuing evidence of avoidable premature deaths of people with learning disabilities, Dave Atkinson (independent), Crispin Hebron (2gether NHS Foundation Trust in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire), Phil Boulter (Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust), and Gwen Moulster (South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust) realised a framework to demonstrate the value of learning disability nursing was needed.

Largely in their own time, they created, developed and evaluated the evidence-based, freely available outcome measure that monitors impact and guides practice. It can aggregate data to improve strategic planning, commissioning and public health strategies.

The framework has been piloted across the UK, with each country taking a different approach to its further implementation.

Feedback from service users and their families and carers shows that the HEF measures the right outcomes. Nurses report that it validates their decisions and informs their practice.

Dave Atkinson and Gwen MoulsterDave Atkinson and Gwen Moulster. Picture credit: Tim George

The team is a finalist in the learning disabilities category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016, the profession’s top accolade for nursing excellence.

The award, sponsored by Cambian, is for nursing staff who have developed ways to support the wellbeing and social inclusion of people with learning disabilities to maintain physical and mental health.

Dave Atkinson says: ‘Being shortlisted in the RCNi Nurse Awards provides an exciting opportunity for me and my colleagues to focus attention on the fact that the health inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities are essentially man-made. They are unjust and avoidable and nurses can lead the way in reducing them.’

Learning Disability Practice editor Colin Parish was a judge on the shortlisting panel. He says: ‘Learning disability nurses always go the extra mile for their service users – it’s in their blood.

‘But the candidates shortlisted for this year’s RCNi Nurse Awards have shown that even more can be done to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities, whose lives are often more challenging than necessary.

‘All of the shortlisted candidates have overcome obstacles and worked hard to try to even up the playing field and give their clients the best possible chance for a good, healthy life.’

About the sponsor

Cambian-logoCambian

Cambian is one of the largest providers of specialist behavioural health services in learning disabilities, autism, mental health rehabilitation, education, acquired brain injury rehabilitation, impaired hearing and, more recently, children’s residential care, fostering and specialised services for children experiencing sexual trauma. Our passion focuses on positive outcomes for the individuals we provide support and services to. Our nurses are critical in their delivery of care and support to ensure these outcomes can be achieved resulting in the highest possible quality of life.