A leader with a track record of turning around struggling units has been shortlisted for an RCNi Nurse Award for transforming the maternity department at James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in her previous role.

Gloria Rowland

Appointed as head of midwifery to be an agent of change, Gloria Rowland sought to improve the performance of the unit in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Staff morale was low and sickness rates high, and the service for mothers and babies required improvement. Also, the complaints and governance processes needed to be strengthened.

After evaluating the situation, Gloria spoke to the team and shared her vision for turning the unit around.

Leading by example, she improved patient safety, refurbished the delivery suite, ensured service user feedback was collected and acted on, and developed effective arrangements for vulnerable women.

Excellent practice was celebrated and the unit’s blame culture turned into a learning one through the creation of a maternity clinical incidents panel. Staff were developed and her succession planned.

Gloria Rowland

‘The unit is now comparable to any other good maternity unit in the UK,’ says Gloria, who is currently associate director of midwifery and gynaecology nursing at Watford General Hospital.

Gloria is a finalist in the Leadership category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016, the profession’s top accolade for nursing excellence.

The award, sponsored by NHS England, recognises clinical leaders who have developed initiatives to ensure their nursing ward or unit offers the highest quality and safest care possible.

Gloria says: ‘I have learned that, as a leader, you cannot be successful without good people around you and bringing them with you. I was able to bring that to this role.

‘It is not right for me to get all the glory – it was a team effort. It was all about guiding them through. I could see the team flourishing and growing. I am excited to be nominated for such a prestigious award but the whole team deserves it.’

The editor of specialist journal Nursing Management, Sophie Blakemore, was on the shortlisting panel. She says: ‘The RCNi Nurse Awards 2016 are a wonderful way to recognise those who innovate in their practice to make a tangible difference to patient care.

‘The standard of entries received for the leadership award was exceptionally high; the finalists blew the judges away and really showcase how senior nurses and midwives are leading and developing their staff to improve morale, performance and care.’

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