Outstanding nurses whose compassion and innovation won recognition

We hope our roll-call of amazing nurses will inspire you to nominate yourself or a colleague for the RCNi Nurse Awards 2019

We hope our roll-call of amazing nurses will inspire you to nominate yourself or a colleague for the RCNi Nurse Awards 2019NA2019

Now open for entries, the RCNi Nurse Awards celebrates clinical excellence, compassionate care, outstanding leadership and commitment to patients of nurses, healthcare assistants and students.

It offers opportunities for nurses to share their practice, for managers to nominate members of their teams to reward their innovation and hard work, and for patients to thank the nursing staff who have made a difference to their lives. No wonder it is the profession’s most prestigious awards.

RCN Nurse of the Year Angela Hall. Picture: Mark Hakansson

At the glittering awards ceremony, the RCN Nurse of the Year 2019, the profession’s top accolade, will be announced. 

'Being named RCN Nurse of the Year 2018 has been massively rewarding, and resulted in further achievements in my field’

Angela Hall, RCN Nurse of the Year 2018

The current holder of the title is Jersey General Hospital arrhythmia nurse specialist Angela Hall, who impressed the judges by leading the introduction of a new drug to treat rapid onset atrial fibrillation. ‘Being named RCN Nurse of the Year 2018 has been massively rewarding in so many ways,’ she says. ‘It has raised my profile and resulted in further achievements in my specialist field.’

Ms Hall was nominated by colleague Kellyanne Kinsella, who hoped ‘it would help her realise how amazing she is’.

The award has raised the profile of Angela Hall’s service developments
and arrhythmia nursing generally. Picture: Gary Grimshaw

But for Ms Hall, raising the profile of arrhythmia and cardiology nursing is more important. She says: ‘It has been exciting for Jersey.’

‘I have just been named States of Jersey employee of the year following the publicity and acknowledgement of my work and service developments. I have also won an "AF Pioneers" award for the second time.

‘I am attending an event at the Palace of Westminster and am going to Public Health England to meet its deputy chief nurse and professor in cardiovascular disease.’

Valuable opportunity

All our winners and finalists testify to the huge difference the awards have made to them personally and professionally, and to their projects.

Specialist nurse practitioner Lorraine Haining won the Nursing Older People category in 2018 for her work improving dementia care in NHS Dumfries and Galloway. She leads the IDEAS team – Interventions for Dementia, Education, Assessment and Support – a consultancy that improves carers’ and care teams’ understanding of stress and distress, and helps them take steps to reduce and prevent it using evidence-based, non-pharmacological approaches.

‘The whole awards experience was absolutely fantastic,’ she says. ‘The night was amazing, especially being together with the team and celebrating the success of our service, not just that of myself. It gave everyone a boost.

‘And it was great for networking with all the other finalists and seeing all the other great work going on.’

The award has raised the profile of the IDEAS programme.

‘I am often asked to speak locally about what we do and nationally a lot of people have got in touch to find out more about our work,’ says the nurse practitioner. ‘And we have had a lot of interest internationally, with organisations from Europe, the US and Australia getting in contact.’

And with Scottish nurse consultant Yvonne Manson winning the Leadership category for her dementia programme, Ms Haining felt the awards highlighted the excellent care being delivered to older people by nurses.

‘Personally, the awards made me very, very proud to be a nurse and it reignited my whole passion for nursing and now I advocate for the profession, promoting older people and dementia care as a career. I speak to school leavers and to nursing students to encourage them into older people’s nursing.

‘Older people nursing used to be a Cinderella service and seen as a dead end but that is slowly changing and these awards show that it offers a great career and pathway.

‘I would recommend to all nurses that they enter the awards. We do not celebrate our success as much as other professions. We need to stand up and shout from the rooftops about what we have done as nurses and how good we are. It is really important to make sure nurses are not pushed aside. And the awards are a really, really great thing to be involved in.’

‘After winning, people contacted me on social media to say how it had inspired them to pursue a career in care homes. This means a lot to me, having fought the stigma for most of my career’

Yvonne Manson, dementia nurse consultant

For nurse consultant Yvonne Manson, who works for Balhousie Care Group, winning the Leadership Award was a valuable opportunity to highlight the work of the care home sector.  

‘I entered the RCNi Nurse Awards to highlight the innovation in the sector and the career you can enjoy from working in care homes. I am incredibly proud of the Balhousie dementia programme I have led in the past two and a half years, and of the work that has gone into it. I wanted to share this with others.'

Leadership award winner Yvonne Manson recommends the awards to other nurses
working in care homes. Picture: Mike Wilkinson

She found entering the Leadership category a ‘positive experience from start to finish'.

'Meeting the judges and other finalists meant I was able to explore and reflect on what had been achieved, and learn about the work going on in other sectors and areas of the country.

‘Before, the judging process had felt daunting, with presentations, videos, photoshoots, and question-and-answer sessions, but it turned out to be a rewarding experience. Everyone put me at ease immediately and there was a real sense of interest in the work that was going on.’

She adds that the awards evening, hosted by actor Emilia Clarke and TV presenter Kate Garraway, was something she will never forget. 

‘I did not expect to win and was overjoyed just to be a finalist so, when they announced my name, it took a while to register.

‘After winning, people contacted me on social media to say how it had inspired them to pursue a career in care homes and be proud to do so. This means a lot to me, having fought the stigma for most of my career.’

Ms Manson’s success continues to raise awareness about her programme, which has attracted interest from nurses as far afield as Australia.

‘Since I won the award, there have been several developments. For example, I helped to secure a training suite for the dementia team to use to enhance the learning and development programme. 

‘Increased interest in the programme has led to an expansion in our team and recently we employed a dementia nurse adviser to support the further development of the programme.’

Shining a light

In 2018, the judges announced the first Special Recognition Award.

Mental health nurse and former boxer Mark Field impressed the judges with his decades of voluntary work, despite his bipolar diagnosis.

He has helped thousands of adults and children with mental illnesses and behaviour problems to improve their physical health through his boxing club. 

Mark Field's voluntary work won him special recognition. Picture: John Houlihan

He says: ‘I entered the awards to shine a light on the importance of helping people with mental illness improve their physical health and to give them a place to go in the community without any stigma.

‘My award has raised my work’s profile and I have had lots of emails about what we do here – and an increase in referrals.

‘But I know there are many other nurses out there who, like me, do what they can for their community and patients in their own time. I recommend they enter the awards because they deserve recognition too.’

Leadership Award winner Ms Manson also ‘highly recommends’ people nominating themselves or colleagues for the 2019 awards, adding: ‘Not only can it support the development of your work, but there is something special about being recognised by your peers.’

The deadline for entries is 1 February 2019.

The awards categories

  • Cancer Nursing
  • Child Health
  • Commitment to Carers
  • Community Nursing
  • Emergency Nursing
  • Excellence in Cancer Research
  • Excellence in Diabetes Care 
  • Healthcare Assistant 
  • Infection Prevention and Control 
  • Innovations in your Specialty
  • Mental Health Practice
  • Leadership
  • Learning Disability Practice
  • Nursing Older People
  • Patient’s Choice
  • Promoting Continence 
  • Respiratory Nursing 
  • Skin and Wound Care 
  • Student Nurse 
  • Team of the Year


Click here for more on the RCNi Nurse Awards

Elaine Cole is editor, RCNi projects

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