Meet the RCN Nursing Awards finalists for 2021

Advanced nursing practice Sponsored by RCN
Advanced nursing practice Sponsored by RCN
Catherine Beynon-Howells and Patricia Quinn Swansea Bay University Health Board

In the face of the pandemic, advanced nurse practitioners Catherine Beynon-Howells and Patricia Quinn transformed their liaison service into a comprehensive older person’s assessment unit at Morriston Hospital. The service offers timely assessments and bespoke treatment plans using a whole-system approach. It has avoided admissions for more than 80% of its attendees, shielded patients from exposure to coronavirus and has a very low readmission rate of less than 7%. The team proactively manages those admitted to hospital to reduce deconditioning, the risk of nosocomial infections and other adverse events. Despite the extremely strenuous workload during winter 2020, patient feedback has been consistently excellent and bed-day savings have been estimated to be £1 million per year.

Gastroenterology specialist nursing team NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde CCG

This seven-strong team has stepped up to provide and develop outstanding nurse-led services for patients despite huge challenges – not least a 65% reduction in its consultant workforce as well as working through the COVID-19 pandemic. Significant innovations in practice include self-management and relapse pathways that are now recognised nationally, and unique gastroenterology vetting. Structured and patient-centred telemedicine services for chronic disease have been built with an ethos of patient-initiated review and there are a range of new nurse-led workstreams including liver disease and luminal gastroenterology. Their work on self-management has been published and they have created resources for patients and ward staff. Patient feedback collected from continuous audits has been very positive.

Heidi Emery South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

The judges have shortlisted this specialist in learning disabilities and autism for her excellent use of advanced practice and demonstrable improvements for patient outcomes in a complex, medical-led area. Mental health and learning disability placement coordinator Heidi Emery ensures care is provided in the least restrictive environment and supports people through pathways from hospital to the community, despite continued COVID-19 restrictions. In recent years, 26 people have been discharged into the community, which has given them their lives back. Ms Emery has become the first non-medical approved clinician at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and is a member of its mental health law action group, providing a nursing perspective at the heart of this aspect of patient care.

Louise Gribben Southern Health and Social Care Trust

A scoping exercise by haematology advanced nurse practitioner Louise Gribben revealed unacceptable waits for people referred to see a consultant for red-flag cancer symptoms, with 37% subsequently being diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). In response, she set up and runs a clinic for CLL and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. This has resulted in a reduction in waiting times for first specialist review from 112 days in September 2019 to 14 days in March 2021. This has reduced anxiety and uncertainty for those referred and enables Ms Gribben to provide timely information and support for them and their families.

Nia Boughton Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Through strong leadership and strategic vision, nurse consultant Nia Boughton has developed a specific advanced practice competency framework for primary care nurses. Rather than embracing a medical specialty-based model, the framework is underpinned by the key determinants of health, moving towards a model of social resilience, independence and well-being with nursing at its heart. It highlights key clinical and professional attributes in 36 practice domains that describe the nursing knowledge and skills required across the wide range of primary care consultations. Practitioners who are using the framework have reported a significant improvement in their training experience. Initial evaluation suggests it has improved patient outcomes and increased equity and consistency across all consultations with advanced practitioners.

Child health Sponsored by Impelsys
Child health Sponsored by Impelsys
Children’s haematology and oncology outreach team Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

The impact of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust children’s haematology and oncology outreach team’s service administering bolus chemotherapy in the home for children and young people with cancer has been significant in improving the quality of life of children and their families. The service was the first of its kind be delivered in such a large area. Parent feedback shows a reduction in the children and young people’s anxiety by not having to travel to and attend hospital and they are more relaxed when receiving treatment at home. School attendance has increased and parents have to take less time off work and can save the time and money they used to spend travelling to the hospital.

CYPH@H Bromley Healthcare Community Interest Company

Nurse-led service CYPH@H sees children and young people for 3-5 days at home after a stay in hospital to prevent their admission from the emergency department (ED) to a ward and to facilitate early discharge from inpatient wards. Nurses visit them at home within three hours of discharge or return from the ED, offering family-focused care and education and treating a wide variety of sub-acute conditions including the administration of IV antibiotics. There has been a significant reduction in the number of ED hospital admissions and 309 bed days were saved in the first three months. The service also enables families to become more confident to manage illnesses independently.

NISTAR – Nurse-led transfer team Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

The first nurse-led transport service in the UK and Ireland has transferred 450 children since January 2020. Previously, critical care teams transferred children from Northern Ireland to Dublin for life-saving specialist treatment but this team of nurses now deliver the service themselves. As it was ready to launch, the UK went into lockdown, but this did not prevent them developing patient information leaflets, staff posters and collaborating with a registrar to make a video for children to explain the service. Feedback from people using the service has been overwhelming positive and the team now completes other transfers for people requiring palliative care.

Sarah Brand Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Assistant divisional nurse Sarah Brand has set up the Teenage and Young People's Research Group and Hospital Youth Forum at Nottingham University Hospital, giving young people a voice in healthcare and research and enabling them to improve experiences for everyone who attends the hospital. Forum members have written the youth charter that is being extended throughout the trust, highlighting what great care looks like for teenagers and young adults. The members also speak at staff meetings and participate in research and service evaluations. The young people, who have all received cancer treatment, say the peer support from forum members has been beneficial and it has helped them grow in confidence.

School age immunisation team Derbyshire Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

The Derbyshire Community Health NHS Foundation Trust immunisation team introduced drive-through mass vaccination clinics for school-aged children during the pandemic to ensure no students from any mainstream, private, independent or special school fell behind on their childhood immunisations despite school closures. The service was remodelled with new job roles, equipment and processes and the service set up 69 drive-through clinics in 18 different venues across Derbyshire and Derby city. More than 10,000 students received immunisations including those in hard-to-reach rural areas and the inner city. Children with additional needs and those who were shielding were also able to attend.

We Can Talk Healthy Teen Minds

We Can Talk was funded to deliver its co-produced educational project using the experience of children, young people, hospital staff and mental health experts to improve mental health crisis support in 25 acute trusts nationally. Following the initial outbreak of COVID-19, face-to-face training days were paused so they co-produced an online, easily accessible and free module covering the fundamentals of compassionate care for staff who support children and young people in crisis. The module was written, filmed, produced, developed and delivered in six weeks. More than 15,000 people have completed the module, with 98% reporting it would significantly or moderately change the way they do their roles.

Commitment to carers Sponsored by NHS England and NHS Improvement
Commitment to carers Sponsored by NHS England and NHS Improvement
Carer liaison support service and volunteers Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

A wide range of initiatives supporting carers have been developed by Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s carer liaison support service over the past five years. It has delivered staff awareness training and provided information for staff and carers. It has also held carer inclusion events – such as pamper days and carer support groups – and offers one-to-one carer support for patients and staff members and engagement with other carer and disability networks within the community. Its package of measures makes hospital admissions less stressful. Of all the staff who received training from the team at the trust, 64% said their awareness had risen from ‘none’ to ‘highly aware’. Patients feel the involvement of carers/family has improved from ‘good’ to ‘excellent’.

Cygnet team Northern Care Alliance NHS Group

The Cygnet team of nursing support workers, nurses, nursing students and volunteers worked throughout the pandemic as a bridge between carers and families who were unable to visit their loved one at the end of life. Using tablets to connect the patient and their family through virtual platforms, the Cygnets provided support and company to people who were alone at the end of life when their families could not be with them, while making sure their families were able to communicate with them. The team also introduced memory diaries to capture key moments and aspects of patients’ last days to share with their families.

Joanne Shaw Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The hospital’s carers’ network and support group has been created by Joanne Shaw the Head of Nursing for Clinical services and Safeguarding following feedback from staff who have caring responsibilities for an elderly parent, unwell relative, partner or child outside of their duties at work. Caring can be an extremely demanding, tiring and talking to someone in a similar situation can help. The network provides a safe environment for staff to meet with others from all disciplines across the trust , discuss issues or just take time out from their caring responsibilities. We have the meeting at  Lunchtime  – with lunch provided by local charities and we  have key note speakers and representative of the local carers centre who can also register staff as carers.

The care team Haven House Children’s Hospice

The care team at Haven House Children’s Hospice was a lifeline for carers of children with life-limiting conditions during the pandemic as many had lost their usual support networks. A dynamic package of carer support was delivered according to individual family need. This included coffee mornings offering vital peer support and visits from the play team, which delivered play materials to the doorstep as well as holding virtual play sessions for siblings to help provide stimulation in lockdown. The dedicated dads’ group was delivered virtually at weekends to recognise the specific needs of fathers caring for life-limited children, allowing more fathers to participate and be supported.

Community & general practice nursing Sponsored by NHS England and NHS Improvement
Community & general practice nursing Sponsored by NHS England and NHS Improvement
Emma Carey Northern Care Alliance

Many families felt their health visitor was less accessible during lockdown and evidence showed that children under the age of two suffered disproportionately high levels of harm. With no additional funding, Emma Carey implemented a low-cost, high-impact intervention for families during and after lockdown. Walk & Talk offered families the chance to meet each other and a local health visitor in green spaces, access support and improve their physical and mental well-being. She also curated a sustainable local community ‘breadline’ recipe book aimed at reducing issues associated with material deprivation and poor health. For every book sold, another was given to a family in need.

Helen Hurst The Orchard Surgery

Practice nurse Helen Hurst has been identifying military veterans, screening them for anxiety and depression and offering them the most appropriate treatment and support through social prescribing. After securing funding for the project, she trained colleagues on how to identify veterans and signpost them to relevant services and implemented an anxiety and depression screening tool. An information leaflet was developed and a section on the surgery’s website was created during lockdown. All veterans were followed up by phone calls while the surgery was closed and an ‘insight night’ was organised where a veteran shared their experience with the practice team. Veterans who have been helped by the initiative have said they feel supported by the practice.

Lymphoedema Network Wales Swansea Bay University Health Board

Lymphoedema Network Wales (LNW) identified that 55% of its community nurses' workload was spent managing lower limb wounds and oedema. Many patients were being inappropriately managed and remained on caseloads unnecessarily due to a lack of knowledge, competence and confidence in compression therapy. It was also found that inappropriate dressings, bandages and garments were being used. The LNW team set about improving the clinical competence and confidence of 51 community and wound care nurses to deal with lower leg wounds appropriately and this has resulted in different compression approaches for 80% of the 266 patients being managed in the community. Within the first four months of this initiative, 30% of the patients’ leg wounds healed.

Palliative rapid response team Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

In March 2020 during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of seemingly stable patients were rapidly deteriorating and dying at home, sometimes before the community team could attend. Led by practice development nurse Ronicah Makande, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s palliative rapid response team created a service within 10 days that provided dedicated, uninterrupted, rapid end of life care by staff that could confidently navigate the challenges of the pandemic. People were seen within four hours of referral and given 24-hour support. Those who were scared to go to hospital or knew it wasn’t an option were able to explore their care options at home and their loved ones felt that their treatment was as good as it would have been in an inpatient environment.

Paula Spooner and Fiona Sharp South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group

To improve the health outcomes of people with learning disabilities by early recognition and treatment of respiratory conditions, this team – led by nurse consultant Paula Spooner and strategic health facilitator Fiona Sharp – focused on training and raising awareness among the general practice workforce as it realised they were pivotal to addressing health inequalities. It has worked with practices, secondary care and specialist learning disability clinicians to develop skills to assess, monitor and treat respiratory conditions in people with a learning disability in the community. Strong collaboration with people with a learning disability, families and carers has shaped services, and helped provide accessible information and a specific care plan for this vulnerable group. 

Weymouth Leg Club team Two Harbours Healthcare

The Weymouth Leg Club offers lower limb care and an opportunity for social interaction for its members. During lockdown, the team found alternative ways to stay connected with members and volunteers via WhatsApp groups, newsletters and regular phone calls. However, none of these replaced members’ need for face-to-face contact. As soon as it was allowed, the leg club ensured the holistic needs of its members were addressed through innovative streamlining of its five-day service. By continuing to socially empower members and combat the effects of isolation, the leg club has helped its members improve their compliance with treatment, wound healing and quality of life.

Excellence in cancer research nursing Sponsored by Cancer Research UK
Excellence in cancer research nursing Sponsored by Cancer Research UK
Early phase clinical trials Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

This team at Churchill Hospital has seen impressive results after its introduction of a mental well-being assessment for early phase trial patients to ensure they were receiving effective and holistic care from the start of their treatment. Responses from patients were very positive. Its implementation has led to numerous referrals to counselling and other services and it has improved communication between patients and staff, allowing them to broach subjects that may otherwise have been unaddressed. The team has streamlined its referral systems since introducing the assessment. Patient feedback has been positive and nurses feel well supported to discuss emotional topics with patients who have no other treatment options left.

Irene Debiram-Beecham Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Cytosponge test has been shown to diagnose ten times more pre-cancerous Barrett’s oesophagus cases than usual care. Its rapid implementation during the pandemic would not have happened without the commitment and expertise of cancer research nurse Irene Debiram-Beecham. She has designed Cytosponge training and the ‘train the trainer’ programme including a webinar, hands-on training and competency-based sign-off. She has extended training across the UK, advising staff at national and international sites and providing dedicated support for nurses during their training and while setting up and running new clinics. Colleagues across the UK have reported that her passion and calm, authoritative nature has empowered nurses to learn new skills and develop an inspiring nurse-led service.

Oncology research Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

The resilient Broomfield Hospital team has been shortlisted for its commitment to ensuring patients with mesothelioma who previously had few options could access a potentially life-lengthening treatment that had been fast-tracked by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence during the pandemic. Despite the research centre being recommissioned as a treatment room and research nurses being deployed for coronavirus research and thanks to the team’s commitment and leadership, patients were able to take part in the trial. Feedback from patients and staff involved in the study has been extremely positive. The impact on these patients has been immeasurable giving them hope and extra time with their families.

Team Christie Research The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Team Christie Research has been shortlisted for its impressive record of recruitment and delivery for many complex cancer studies during the pandemic, while also being key in the running of local and national COVID trials and being the second highest recruiting site for the national psychological impact of COVID-19 study. The advanced immune and cell therapy team also treated its first patient on a complex advanced therapy medicinal product trial. This has been achieved despite the challenges of maintaining trial patients’ safety and coping with staff redeployment. It also admitted surgical patients allowing essential cancer surgeries to continue across greater Manchester, requiring the team to develop new skills.

UHB Haematology Research Team University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Despite research being halted as its trust was hit hard by the pandemic, the persistence and leadership of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust’s haematology research team led by Biruk Asfaw overcame huge barriers. They adapted to restrictions and staff shortages to provide care and treatment safely and successfully reopen six key clinical trials to recruitment after the initial wave of COVID-19 cases. They safely provided trialled treatment for existing patients and for multiple patients on a further three trials throughout the pandemic. One of these included a CAR T-cell therapy trial providing a life-saving novel treatment that is not yet available on the NHS. Without the swift action of the team, the opportunity for patients to receive this treatment would have been lost

Innovations in your specialty Sponsored by Nursing & Midwifery Council
Innovations in your specialty Sponsored by Nursing & Midwifery Council
Clare Manley and Craig Davidson Retaining the Passion: Journeys Through Nursing podcast series

Craig Davidson who works as a registered adult nurse for Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership’s Asylum Health Bridging Team and Clare Manley, who has worked for Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust since qualifying as a registered mental health nurse, realised that retention in nursing was a significant problem and decided to develop a podcast series called “Retaining the Passion: Journeys Through Nursing” to tackle the problem. They interview guests including fellow nurses, health professionals, patients, carers and advocates about their experiences. The series is entirely self-funded, edited and published and is hosted via their website It is shared across eight listening platforms and has amassed over 4,000 listeners from 24 countries.

Iain Armstrong Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

After strong evidence that people with pulmonary hypertension value quality of life most highly as an outcome of treatment, nurse consultant Iain Armstrong developed EmPHasis-10, a patient-reported measure of quality of life that ensures a more holistic approach to people with this rare lung disease. At the time of development, there was nothing of its kind for this disease, and quality of life was not included in clinical assessments. The tool is now used by nurses and doctors around the world and amplifies the patient’s voice and their lived experience. It is high quality, simple to use and can be integrated within everyday clinical practice.

Nicola Bailey Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Regulations from the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland came into effect as the UK went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. No local services had been planned or commissioned. Despite political resistance and protests, nurse manager Nicola Bailey was instrumental in setting up an early medical abortion service in Belfast while also converting community contraceptive clinics to telemedicine services, collaborating with medical, pharmacy and administrative staff as well as police and reproductive health charities. Clinic protocols and standard operating procedures were rapidly developed, drug cupboards acquired, legal paperwork organised and online consultation forms created. Special low-sensitivity pregnancy tests were sourced and ordered and patient information leaflets created. The rapid creation of these services ensured women in Northern Ireland had access to contraception and early medical abortions despite the restrictions of the pandemic.

Pam Ramsay University of Dundee

Realising that patients and families needed tailored information, advice and support when recovering from COVID-19 after being discharged from intensive care, this team led by school of health sciences researcher Pam Ramsey created a COVID-specific adaptation of a pre-existing, multiple award-winning ICU recovery website. Since going live in September 2020, the website has received more than 23,000 visitors, and over 130,000 webpages have been viewed. The website has been formally endorsed by the Intensive Care Society, the UK Critical Care Nursing Alliance and its umbrella groups, including the British Association of Critical Care Nurses. The website has also been formally endorsed by patient-led charity ICUsteps and feedback from patients has been overwhelmingly positive.

Pauline Curran Southern Health and Social Care Trust

Lead outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy nurse Pauline Curran recognised that a significant number of patients were being inappropriately admitted to hospital and given antibiotics for misdiagnosed cellulitis. In response to this, she designed, implemented and streamlined a cellulitis pathway working with stakeholders including consultants in the emergency department, management, governance, and nursing and pharmacy colleagues. Patient interviews were completed to identify the impact of their journey through ED, hospital admissions and psychological well-being. Referrals to the service have grown significantly with almost 1,000 bed days saved in the past two years. Patients describe the service as ‘brilliant’ and are delighted to be treated in their own homes. 

Leadership Sponsored by Cleveland Clinic London
Leadership Sponsored by Cleveland Clinic London
Anita Astle Wren Hall Nursing Home

After leaving the NHS to work in social care, nurse manager and managing director of Wren Hall Nursing Home Anita Astle was shocked by the marginalisation of the sector. She has since raised the profile of social care nurses by developing her own team and supporting other care homes to do the same. She works strategically with local authorities and the NHS, gives talks in schools, colleges and universities and co-created a video funded by Health Education England to highlight the role of social care nurses. She created the Integrated Care Homes Group to deliver the Enhanced Health in Care Homes goals which are part of The NHS Long Term Plan and cover areas such as dementia training, and she led an initiative to develop the skills of 30 care home managers and 900 front-line staff.

Harriet Watson Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust

Inspired by patient feedback, colorectal consultant nurse Harriet Watson set up a patient-focused, nurse-led, faster, safer, high-quality colorectal cancer diagnostic service. She consulted with patients and GPs to develop an efficient telephone assessment/straight-to-test pathway, providing a superior service at lower cost with high patient and GP satisfaction scores. It has been extended to trusts across the country. Her reputation as an inspiring leader and her focus on supporting the nursing team to learn and grow means there is high interest in newly advertised posts at the service. She nurtures and trains individual team members according to their own interests and skills, and retention rates in her team are high.

Noel McDonald Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Nurse consultant Noel McDonald is an inspirational leader who has overseen the transformation of forensic mental health services in Northern Ireland, inspiring generations of staff and ensuring service users receive person-centred holistic care. He developed a course focusing on least restrictive practice and managing challenging situations in a more dynamic way and is part of the regional project board looking at the needs of service users. He developed a new-to-forensic programme, designed to increase staff knowledge and understanding and is lead chair of a group bringing together forensic and criminal justice agencies. He also initiated and developed the Forensic Managed Care Network, making recommendations to the Department of Health on the needs of forensic services.

Rohit Sagoo British Sikh Nurses

In his own time, children’s nurse lecturer Rohit Sagoo has been building up stronger connections between healthcare services and the Sikh community. His campaigns to increase the number of Sikh people on stem cell and living donor registers have been a huge success. He has worked to raise awareness of organ donation and COVID-19 public information, particularly about vaccination, on Asian TV and radio channels, working in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care, the London Assembly and NHS Blood and Transplant. He delivers health and well-being advice in venues in the community, addressing mental health issues and reaching out to older members of the community who speak little English.

Training and development team Institute of Health Visiting

The training and development team at the Institute of Health Visiting has been shortlisted for creating the Emotional Wellbeing at Work virtual programme for UK health visitors to help them cope with the extra pressure and demands placed on them during the COVID-19 pandemic. The course uses three areas to measure mental well-being – perceived stress, compassion satisfaction, and burnout and secondary trauma. Participants reported being better able to recognise their emotions and use techniques learnt through the sessions to improve their mental health and well-being. They felt more positive, supported and capable in their work environment and valued having a safe space to discuss and reflect on the aspects of work that they were finding difficult and receive feedback from colleagues in similar situations.

Learning disability nursing
Learning disability nursing
Acute liaison learning disability and autistic spectrum condition team Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

The learning disability and autistic spectrum condition (ASC) team established at Alder Hey offers bespoke care for children and young people with a learning disability or ASC across the site. Identification of these children and young people by a special record indicator enables the team to meet families and carers to discuss access to care, concerns and reasonable adjustments. Training delivered across the site has also supported awareness and understanding of access issues and is part of inductions. Positive behaviour support is part of mandatory conflict resolution training. Feedback from families, parent forums and, most importantly, the children and young people has been very positive. 

Jane Nickels MacIntyre

Since embarking on her learning disabilities Admiral Nurse role in May 2020, Jane Nickels has been supporting the virtual MacIntyre Memory Cafés in England and Wales. She provides bespoke training and education to families, wider circles of support and professionals caring for people with learning disabilities, working to ensure there is a timely diagnosis. She ensures the person’s environment is tailored to meet their individual needs and has been raising awareness by talking at conferences. Two of her webinars were quickly filled with 500 participants. There has been a reduction in the use of medication and increased confidence among teams to support someone in their own home at the end of life.

Michelle Evans Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust

Learning disability lead nurse Michelle Evans started in post as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold but this did not stop her transforming the trust’s services and culture to improve the care of people with learning disabilities. The programme was scoped with work streams and a full-day workshop attended by 100 colleagues, patients, family members, carers and national leaders. This resulted in the streamlining of appointments, implementation of a patient passport and bespoke communication aids, reasonable adjustments for people with additional needs, provision of accessible information and easy-read leaflets, and staff education and training. Feedback from families and staff has been increasingly positive.  

Rebecca Crossley James Paget Hospital University Hospital

Rebecca Crossley’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic for people with learning disabilities and autism or severe and enduring mental health conditions has a 99.9% success rate. The learning disability and autism liaison nurse organised engagement events with people who would be using the service to ensure she got it right first time and that the people she vaccinated came back for their second dose. She found a room that could be adapted for sensory needs and a prescriber for those who required individual patient assessment. At time of entry to the RCN Nurse Awards, the service had vaccinated 242 people, some with severe needle phobias who previously had never had a vaccination. Only one person had been unable to receive the vaccine.

Sandra Morton-Nance Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

By developing a virtual clinic to coordinate and manage ongoing care and support for people with intellectual disability and two or more long-term conditions, hospital liaison nurse specialist in learning disability Sandra Morton-Nance has improved outcomes and safety. Feedback from individuals, care providers and professionals has been positive and there has been improved engagement from people who had a previously high incidence of missed appointments. People can access the care they needed without unnecessary distress or disruption. The hospital liaison nurse has been able to advocate on behalf of the patient, sharing their wishes and offering advice and assistance to clinicians to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and investigations.

Mental health nursing
Mental health nursing
Dennis Singson The Station Practice

Coming from a secondary care background and being familiar with crisis avoidance techniques, advanced nurse practitioner Dennis Singson has coordinated the development of a mental health hub consisting of a GP and a clinical pharmacist and upskilled colleagues throughout the practice to improve the care of people with anxiety, depression and eating disorders, despite starting his role at the start of the pandemic. He has weekly contact with at least 55 patients. Since he joined the practice, anti-depressant prescribing has reduced and referral to secondary services is down by 30%. Patients praise the improved, faster access to specialist services and the support they receive through their mental health journey.

Home treatment crisis response team Southern Health and Social Care Trust

The home treatment crisis response team at Southern Health and Social Care Trust created a 24-hour centralised mental health emergency assessment unit to safely manage the immediate and short-term needs of people experiencing a period of acute mental distress through referrals from primary care, emergency departments, ambulance and police within one to two hours. This reduced the pressure on acute hospitals and minimised the risk of the spread of coronavirus in hospital during the pandemic. The team minimised disruption to services through the first two waves of the pandemic and reduced the time patients spent in crowded hospital areas and provided a dignified, comfortable and safe space for all the assessments. Unnecessary attendance at emergency departments was reduced using pathways with ambulance and police services.

João Marçal-Grilo Jaya Mental Health

Mental health nurse and founding director of Jaya Mental Health João Marçal-Grilo realised there was little support available for people with mental health problems in South Asia with few mental health professionals working in cities and rural areas being isolated and lacking support. He launched the charity Jaya Mental Health in 2014 to link communities of nurses across the world to ensure they have access to training and mutual support to improve mental healthcare in their communities. The initiative’s success has resulted in official requests for more mental health clinics in remote areas and Jaya Mental Health being asked to advise on mental health provision in areas of South Asia.

Nicky Lambert, Vanessa Garrity and David Munday #mhTV

During the pandemic and in their own time, the #mhTV team created an online television and podcast series to support colleagues, celebrate nursing and discuss mental health issues. They began by livestreaming their conversations about COVID-19 on Facebook and covered moral injury, bereavement, loss and social inequality. They live tweet the conversations and make them and the podcast available on open access forums. They recruit and support guests, plan conversations and take turns in presenting and doing the publicity and admin with over 20,000 people engaging across all platforms so far.  The team also hosted the mental health nursing research conference enabling it to go ahead free of charge and expanding its reach to be seen by more than 2,000 people compared to its usual 200 attendees.

Staff COVID support – mental health resilience hub Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

This impressive and comprehensive nurse-led support service for health, social care and support staff was mobilised in five weeks over Christmas 2020, including setting up new recording systems and datasets, recruiting and engaging staff who were reluctant to seek help and ensuring a proactive approach to mental health support. In May, 120 staff had been referred, triaged, assessed and had or were having trauma-focused therapy. Many presented with trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, complex grief reactions, trauma related to assaults at work or witnessing self-harm or serious incidents. Average referral to assessment time is 1-2 days and assessment to therapy is 1-2 weeks. All the participants who were surveyed found the service to be compassionate, effective and confidential, and they said they would recommend it to a colleague.

Nursing older people
Nursing older people
Bolton acute pain team Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

Pain is often undetected in people with dementia because they are unable to articulate it. In response to this, the Bolton acute pain team has created and embedded a specific assessment tool that has delivered year-on-year improvements and has received excellent feedback from staff and relatives of patients who have benefitted from it. The tool was designed by the staff that would be using it and was trialled and launched with educational support from the pain team. The Bolton Pain Assessment Scale is now built into IT systems and has been adopted by community nurses. Feedback from learning disability teams who use the tool for people admitted to hospital has also been positive.

Dementia palliative care team Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust

Clinical lead Gemma del Toro recognised a gap in care for people with a dementia diagnosis in palliative services and secured funding for a pilot service to fill that gap. The service addresses the palliative care needs of people living and dying with dementia, supporting families, offering symptom control, advance care planning and end of life care plans for people with dementia in Derbyshire. She has used data to secure funding to recruit more staff to cope with the growing number of referrals and a further expansion to include consultant input. Positive feedback for the collaborative approach and person-centred care delivered by the team has been received from professionals, families and patients.

Emergency nursing team Bennfield House Ltd

Demonstrating leadership, resilience and innovation, this care home team in Doncaster set up an emergency nurse-led service during the pandemic to care for people from other care homes, hospital, or their own home, who had tested positive for coronavirus. The unit was commissioned in a short space of time to offer care for a 14-day quarantine period, end of life care or discharge back to the patient’s place of residence. The vulnerable people admitted had very complex comorbidities with the team rapidly responding to deteriorating patients and using their skills and experience to ensure the best possible outcomes despite operating remotely.

Meaningful visits team Greenock Medical Aid Society care homes

Greenock Medical Aid Society’s meaningful visits team has been shortlisted for its creative and innovative approach to enabling meaningful visits by loved ones that were able to include physical contact during the pandemic when many care homes had a no physical contact policy for visits. Lead Andrea Wyllie drew up plans for a visiting pilot using rapid COVID-19 testing, risk assessments and protocols. Its success was recognised and replicated nationally. When a further lockdown was announced for Boxing Day in 2020, the team worked extra shifts to ensure everyone had a meaningful visit before it came into place and then lobbied the government to allow indoor visiting as soon as possible. As well as proving visits could be conducted safely, they were also shown to have a profound effect on the well-being of residents and relatives.

Team County Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Nurse manager Joanne Hook recognised that patients at County Hospital were lacking social interaction during the pandemic and so were her own children. Inspired to remedy this, the nursing team developed a programme of intergenerational activity in partnership with a primary school. Working within the COVID-19 restrictions, the programme included the exchange of letters and pictures and projects to brighten the garden and communal areas. Patients have expressed enthusiasm for the activities and feel they are contributing to the children’s schoolwork. The school has reported that pupils have shown great excitement and imagination in their creations, and they are proud to know they are helping others. Nursing staff report it has boosted morale at the hospital.

Nursing student Sponsored by TORK
Nursing student Sponsored by TORK
Adele Thaxter Sheffield Hallam University

As research identified that COVID-19 disproportionately affected people from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, Adele Thaxter proposed to produce a risk assessment that mitigates this risk. The Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust’s improvement team agreed to help and support her with the project. She has based the risk assessment on the ‘voice of the community’ and their perception of need following an in-depth health needs assessment. She discussed the idea with BAME families as well as seeking input from a public health consultant. Ms Thaxter hopes the risk assessment will promote health literacy, improve COVID-19 vaccination rates in BAME groups and improve trust in the healthcare system.  

Anna Mulvihill University of the West of England

Concerned about the impact on care of both the lack of understanding about healthcare professionals’ roles and difficulties recruiting learning disability nurses, third-year student Anna Mulvihill joined forces with occupational therapist student Charlotte Owen to set up two virtual events for 16 to 18-year-olds. These involved presentations on roles from diagnostic radiography to the different branches of nursing, as well as a Q&A session. Ms Mulvihill pitched the idea to her faculty’s senior leadership team, briefed the student representatives taking part and attracted participants by linking with a higher education outreach programme. She also created a resource pack, presented on behalf of learning disabilities nursing and hosted the two events.

Brian Webster University of Dundee

Third-year student Brian Webster was nominated for setting up website ThinkTheory19 in response to negative comments about peers who did not opt in to extended paid clinical placements during the pandemic. He collected video messages from nurse leaders throughout the UK that reassured students it was ok to ‘opt out’. He then set about supporting students through a series of blogs showcasing leadership along with a series of webinars on aspects from career choices to clinical care of patients with COVID-19. This was all achieved alongside his other leadership roles on the student council and as school president for the school of health sciences at the University of Dundee.

Catherine McLaughlin Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

When nursing students were included in the pandemic response, Catherine McLaughlin quickly requested a meeting between class representatives and the school’s senior staff. She subsequently joined the school’s rapid response team to be a voice for students and liaise with staff to raise or resolve issues that arose for students as a result of COVID-19. Ms McLaughlin set up a group chat, provided updates and collated and raised issues with staff. She also worked with a team supporting the emotional needs of students and advocated for those unable to undertake paid placements. Recently qualified, she is using her experience to help set up a regional support network for newly qualified nurses.

Mairead Ryan Queen’s University Belfast

Third-year mental health nursing student Mairead Ryan has been central to MyStoryYourStory, a campaign for better mental health services for young people in Northern Ireland. She has led several initiatives to promote positive mental health, increase awareness of addictions and offer insights about the affect on families by speaking at public events, to the media and in schools, as well as organising meetings with local politicians. She is an internationally established youth leader in mental health awareness, representing Northern Ireland at the European Network of Young Advisors collaboration meeting in Barcelona, supporting the work of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children and participating in a youth panel forum discussion for the United Nations’ 75th anniversary.

Nursing Society University of Glasgow

The society has worked collaboratively this year to ensure there is consistent high quality peer support and guidance, particularly for first-year students, during the ongoing pandemic. Instead of traditional face-to-face meetings and events, it has found different ways to engage with students using technology and social media and has built an inclusive online community that was easily accessible, particularly in clinical practice. It has facilitated networks between year groups and feedback showed that 99% of the students felt its online Q&A sessions had been useful, 77% of junior students had accessed resources aimed at supporting first clinical placements and 92% of these students felt these had helped them during clinical practice.

Nursing support worker Sponsored by RCN
Nursing support worker Sponsored by RCN
Dementia companion service Southeastern Health and Social Care Trust

Hospital care can become complicated and challenging for people with dementia and the healthcare professionals looking after them, a problem exacerbated when the involvement of family carers was restricted due to the pandemic. Realising this, the dementia companions embraced digital technology to connect people with families through virtual visiting. The team lobbied and procured tablets from the IT department and completed the trust’s online Zoom training to ensure they had the required skills. Technology did not come easy to the team or the patients but the drive to make a difference and support patients was instrumental to introducing virtual visiting which helped keep loved ones connected. 

Jennifer Peckham Rotherwood Healthcare

Nurse assistant Jennifer Peckham set up in-home clinics with the lead clinician of the memory team so residents were not unsettled by leaving their home for appointments and made sure social workers and family were included. Her initiatives have led to a significant reduction in the use of antipsychotic therapies. Her drive to look at the person behind the dementia diagnosis and maintain residents’ well-being by making use of the outdoors has helped ensure their lives are fulfilling while reducing agitation and aggression and improving their sleep. Another of her initiatives ensures prescription changes now take effect immediately rather than needing to go via the GP.

Jenny Chatfield The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

When urology cancer care navigator Jenny Chatfield began her new role at New Cross Hospital, most specialist nurses had been redeployed. Despite this, Ms Chatfield was quickly able to provide a high level of support to increased numbers of men with prostate cancer. She contacted them to keep them up to date, conducted remote holistic needs assessments, made onward referrals where required, completed online courses, participated in writing new protocols and guidelines and was a strong voice in shaping the service for the future, as well as being a confidant for anxious patients turned to. Her success has led to her assisting and training new cancer care navigators at the trust. 

Mandy Gee Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

Fair Oaks Day Hospice closed its doors to day patients in March 2020 due to lockdown but diversional therapist Mandy Gee made sure the vulnerable, life-limited people who used the service did not feel socially isolated. Working on her own initiative and with limited senior support, Ms Gee embraced virtual contact platforms such as Zoom and developed a Facebook page to enable service users to remain connected with staff, volunteers and fellow patients. She visited those who had severe disabilities or were unable to access Facebook to share the technology. Diversional activities included quizzes, daily song requests, information and social support. Patients reported they felt as if the day hospice had never closed.

Nicola Trehane Hywel Dda University Health Board

Since Nicola Trehane began the new perinatal peer mentor support worker role, she has significantly developed the interventions offered and support given to women, liaising with other perinatal support workers to expand this blueprint for further care. Her interventions include emotional well-being, nursery nurse objectives of bathing and weaning, Millpond sleep training, practical skills, safety information for the home, bonding and attachment. To ensure she provided holistic care she learnt mindfulness and relaxation skills and undertook further training so that she could improve the attachment and bond between mother and baby using baby massage which she teaches in the antenatal period and after the baby is born.    

Outstanding contribution to infection prevention and control Sponsored by INEOS Hygienics
Outstanding contribution to infection prevention and control Sponsored by INEOS Hygienics
Community infection prevention team Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

As the pandemic began to surge in 2020, the infection prevention nurses serving Sandwell’s 84 care homes needed more support. This team’s systematic approach was successful in preventing cross infection and managing COVID-19 outbreaks. It provided advice to residential, nursing, learning disability homes and extra care facilities, supported living and domiciliary care. It included information on personal protective equipment, ‘train the trainer’ sessions on donning and doffing, COVID-19 testing, cleaning, cohort nursing and outbreak management. The quality and safety nurse was deployed to visit care homes to observe practice and report back to the team.

Inpatient unit team Ashgate Hospicecare

Stringent infection prevention procedures have enabled Ashgate to continue to deliver high-quality palliative and end of life care to patients and their families. It extended this care to COVID-19 patients on a dedicated wing of their inpatient unit. During the second wave of the pandemic, demand was so great that the hospice opened a second COVID wing and one in three of its beds were used by people with COVID-19. The hospice is rightly proud that despite this, they have avoided any outbreaks and there has been no cross-infection of patients, staff, volunteers or visitors, ensuring families were able to visit loved ones with or without COVID-19.

Kim Williams-Davies Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Nursing associate Kim Williams-Davies led the implementation of a monthly infection audit at a 1,800-bed trust, reaching out to staff in all clinical and non-clinical areas face to face and recruiting 200 champions from the multidisciplinary team. She supported the development of an electronic audit system to give feedback on compliance to infection control standards on a monthly basis and continues to manage the process. More than 300 areas contribute to the monthly audit with a compliance of 92% in clinical areas and 71% in non-clinical areas. Since its introduction there has been a demonstrable reduction in COVID-19 infection rates among staff and it has helped maintain staffing levels.

Leila Hail and Gema Martinez-Garcia University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Infection prevention and control (IPC) lead nurses Leila Hail and Gema Martinez Garcia designed a bespoke, innovative IPC module within the trust’s electronic healthcare system. Previously, infection prevention had been challenged due to ineffective or delayed communication channels to the wards and senior management, as well due to the impact of human factors and behaviours. This module incorporates features intended to overcome human errors and facilitate collaborative working among teams to improve patient and staff safety. It became invaluable during the pandemic when visual heat maps identifying COVID-19 cases and the ability to carry out contact tracing have been essential.

Personal protective equipment safety officers Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

To keep the workforce safe during the pandemic, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief nurse Steve Hams introduced personal protective equipment (PPE) safety officers, a multidisciplinary team of nurses, nursing associates and healthcare assistants to support colleagues working on the front line. The result – 40 staff members who were trained and visible – increased confidence across the workforce and ensured that the right supplies got to those who needed it when they needed it without a single death among staff. The focus was on how and when to use PPE and importantly when not to overuse it, especially gloves. The initiative has been embedded in practice and replicated internationally.

Patient’s choice Sponsored by Alexandra
Patient’s choice Sponsored by Alexandra
Angela Gallagher Cardiff and Vale University Health Board/Swansea Bay University Health Board

Former nurse Linda Davies has nominated community paediatric oncology outreach nurse specialist Angela Gallagher who has been caring for her daughter Alexandra. Alexandra was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2020.

Ms Davies says: ‘We are a same-sex couple and Ms Gallagher has taken the time to understand our circumstances and has been willing to advocate for us when other parts of the service have been less sensitive.

‘She has anticipated problems that my daughter might face, this included calling to our house on her day off to check her bloods and organise a blood transfusion during the Christmas holidays. This enabled my daughter to avoid developing symptomatic anaemia and enduring the stress of an acute admission.  


Jodie Heath North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust

The mother of a young man with complex needs has nominated nurse Jodie Heath for her ‘compassion and the way she listens and puts my son at the heart of everything she does’.

Michelle Craggs’ 18-year-old son has a number of diagnoses along with autism, but his care has been transformed since Ms Heath, who specialises in psychosis, began coordinating his care.

‘Ms Heath has adapted so many things for my son. Listening and understanding is key and for the first time following four separate mental health inpatient admissions, my son felt listened to when he talked to her. He sat on his bed and cried and said: “Mum, they believe me”,’ says Ms Craggs.


Katie McIlroy Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

A woman with complex mental and physical health needs has nominated her community nurse for being the first person in the psychiatric system to see her as a person and look beyond the labels. 

‘Before Katie McIlroy took over my care, I was having a really hard time in the mental health system; I had multiple care coordinators and admissions for my mental health,’ says Daisy Smith. ‘I also have complex physical health issues. Most mental health professionals see my case history and run.

‘She has done more for me than anyone ever has. She has comforted me and talked me out of suicide. She has held my hand when I was scared and hearing voices. In the darkest of times, she has given me some light and made me feel human.


Orna Carey King’s College Hospital, London

A 17-year-old has nominated junior sister Orna Carey whose care helped her turn her life around after suffering life-changing injuries as an inpatient at a mental health unit.

Ellis Kottas, who has autism, says she was in a ‘very bad state’ when she was admitted to an adult surgical ward. ‘After sustaining a spinal cord injury, I was in hospital for a year battling with pain and having surgeries. I struggled mentally and physically. I felt so alone, as only one parent was allowed to visit for very short periods due to COVID-19.

‘She was the first person I felt able to open up to and trust again,’ says Ms Kottas. ‘We could talk about my worries or about life outside the four walls of the ward. She made me feel wanted and that I deserved the help, which I had always found hard to believe.


Paul Murray Northern Health and Social Care Trust

A record number of nominations have been received for nurse practitioner Paul Murray to receive a Patient’s Choice Award.

Mr Murray, who worked at Causeway Hospital, Coleraine, died after a cardiac arrest in February. The testimonies from people he supported show the huge impact he had on the people he cared for as well as the wider community.

The nominations included accounts of numerous occasions where he went above and beyond to get people with terminal cancer discharged from hospital to spend time with their families. In one case, he organised a helicopter to take a man at the end of life to Scotland so he could die at home with his family.


Rosily Padayathil and Muzit Ghebreab Barts Health NHS Trust

A team of nurses that ‘did everything they could to ease the pain’ for two sisters when their mother was at the end of life has been nominated for the Patient’s Choice award.

Waffa Girshab says ward managers Rosily Padayathil and Muzit Ghebreab’s care of her mother at Whipps Cross Hospital, London, was outstanding, even though she was admitted to the Curie Ward with advanced mesothelioma, which they were not used to treating.

‘They built a relationship of complete trust with us,’ says Ms Girshab. ‘They were fantastic leaders, and I could see they supported their staff when they were unsure with some of Mum’s care.’


Team of the year Sponsored by LV
Team of the year Sponsored by LV

#KeephoLDNon is a social media community lockdown project that encourages and inspires learning disability nursing students and helps to maintain well-being during the pandemic. The team creates heart-warming films with contributions from members of the learning disability community and some celebrities. They have had a significant impact, not only in raising spirits but also awareness about learning disability nursing. The first film has been viewed more than 9,000 times, while the sequel had over 1,500 views in the first week. On Twitter, the hashtag #keephoLDiNgon has been used by 398 contributors, with 3,101 tweets with a total reach of more than 95 million before it was changed to #keephoLDNon in June 2020.

Adult critical care unit team Barts Health NHS Trust

With the Royal London Hospital facing a rising tide of very ill patients during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became evident that a speedy remodelling of nursing care was required to be delivered by the 200 substantive critical care nursing staff and more than 400 redeployed staff. The 44-bed critical care unit (of which 22 beds are ordinarily level 3) successfully expanded to care for 157 predominately very ill level-3 patients in multiorgan failure. Despite the moral distress of not being able to provide the usual care standards by working in this way, the team provided the chance of life and recovery to many patients and their families.

Care excellence accreditation team Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

From the nursing director to band 5 staff, the care excellence accreditation team at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust City Hospital has achieved global recognition for its Trust’s nursing excellence by being the first Trust in the UK to achieve Magnet® status, rewarding efforts to embed positive practice, evidence based practice and innovation. During the rigorous application and submission process to receive Magnet® status, as well as the in-depth virtual site visit, the team had to consistently show that the Trust outperforms peer organisations in three areas – nurse sensitive indicators (patient outcomes specific to nursing care), patient satisfaction and nursing staff satisfaction. As well as boosting the pride and morale of staff, the Trust is attracting nursing talent from all over the world.

Clinical Research Network delivery team Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

As COVID-19 cases surged, the Falcon MoonShot study sought to determine the efficacy of lateral flow devices and looked to Greater Manchester’s National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network delivery team to get the study off the ground quickly. The team worked around the clock to set up the trial at Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium. Set-up involved revising study documentation, sourcing personal protective equipment, preparing sample kits, making posters and signs, while planning how participants and sample testers could be kept safe on site. The study was completed within 32 days and enabled the devices to be used across the UK 40 days after the team's initial input, thus enabling mass testing and rapid detection of Covid.

Cygnet team Northern Care Alliance NHS Group

The Cygnet team includes allied healthcare professionals, nursing students, nursing support workers, nurses and volunteers working alongside bereavement specialists to support families and prevent people dying alone. Set up during the COVID-19 pandemic, this includes using mobile phones and tablets to facilitate communication between staff, patients and their loved ones and family or enabling patients to listen to a favourite programme or listen to audiobooks, including religious texts. Memory journals are completed to give to the family when they were unable to be with the patient. Complex and challenging conversations are had with compassion and the central aim of the team is to ‘look after patients, each other and ourselves’. The model is transferable to hospital, hospice and care home settings, ensuring that no-one dies alone. 

School age immunisation team Derbyshire Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

The Derbyshire Community Health NHS Foundation Trust immunisation team introduced drive-through mass vaccination clinics for school-aged children during the pandemic to ensure no students from any mainstream, private, independent or special school fell behind on their childhood immunisations despite school closures. The service was remodelled with new job roles, equipment and processes and the service set up 69 drive-through clinics in 18 different venues across Derbyshire and Derby city. More than 10,000 students received immunisations including those in hard-to-reach rural areas and the inner city. Children with additional needs and those who were shielding were also able to attend.