Winners of the RCN Nurse of the Year award

The RCN Nurse of the Year is chosen from the category finalists and crowned as the overall winner of that year's Nurse Awards.

Scroll through our cover gallery of winners and read their inspiring stories to find out why their work and innovation deserved the coveted title of RCN Nurse of the Year.

2022: Alison Bunce

Alison Bunce’s community initiative puts compassion and kindness first, coordinating services such as end of life companionship and ‘back home boxes’ for discharged patients.

‘I listened to what the community thought was important, to make sure we developed initiatives that would make a difference.’

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2021: Nicola Bailey

Sexual health services nurse manager Nicola Bailey defied opposition to set up an early medical abortion service when pandemic lockdowns meant women were unable to travel to England for a termination.

The RCN Nursing Awards 2021 judges lauded her passion for promoting women’s health, and her bravery for continuing despite protests and political resistance.

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2020: Ana Waddington

Alarmed by by rising knife injury cases, emergency department sister Ana Waddington set up the YourStance outreach programme to teach young people what to do when someone is stabbed, including how to perform CPR and basic life support

‘I started by taking a mannikin into Feltham Young Offender Institution, but the project has been my life for the past two years,’ says Ms Waddington.

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2019: Taurai Matare

Brought together three separate teams to create a one-stop eye care centre for patients

‘I’ve written so many business cases to justify my need for staff and had so many thrown back, but I’ve never given up.’

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2018: Angela Hall

Transformed the care of patients with heart rhythm disorders

‘It enhances nursing practice by enabling us to completely manage the patient’s admission and journey until discharge – we assess, prescribe, administer, monitor, discharge and follow up.’

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2017: Melanie Davies

Introduced training, tools and a network of learning disabilities champions in her ward

‘I wanted to change attitudes: helping staff to understand and see the person behind the learning disability and involving patients, carers and families in all planning and decision-making.’ 

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2016: Venetia Wynter-Blyth

Began a holistic, tailored programme of ‘prehabilitation’ that dramatically improves outcomes for people with cancer who require surgery

‘By working alongside patients, developing goals with them, and supporting them to reach these goals, it’s like we’re on a journey together and patients now have a deciding role over their own health outcome.’

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2015: Amanda Burston

Set up a domestic violence service in an emergency department

'Winning RCN Nurse of the Year has opened many doors for me. Not only has it provided me with opportunities to share the work of the Safer Steps team, it has enabled me to educate people about domestic abuse.'

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2014: Sarah Lewis

Rehabilitated injured servicemen and women by creating bespoke pain management plans that put patients in control

‘Just being nominated is an immense honour for me.  That my work and the results I have had so far have been noticed is extremely touching, especially as I was put forward for an award by my line manager. Winning is the icing on the cake.’

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2013: Matthew Hodson

Set up the Breathing Space clinic, bringing end of life care to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

‘I get a great deal of satisfaction from supporting people who might be in crisis.'

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2012: Johanne Tomlinson

Launched an anxiety management service for offenders in her care at a male prison

‘I am a modest person, so it is amazing to get this recognition for everything that I have done. Nursing is my passion – it is not just a job. I hope it will also highlight all the good work that happens here, inside these prison walls.’

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2011: Fiona Murphy

Started a nurse-led revolution in bereavement care and donor support, inspiring an entire hospital’s workforce to improve the support it offers grieving families

‘I have the most amazingly positive job. A family will never forget five minutes of quality care’.

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2009: Lin Graham-Ray

Transformed child services by making health assessments individual, detailed healthcare plans for each child that also encompass their wider wellbeing

'I feel it gives me a responsibility to try to change things positively. I hope to influence people’s response to looked after children in any health setting, and ensure we do the best we can for them.’

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