Arrhythmia nurse specialist named RCN Nurse of the Year 2018

Angela Hall receives prestigious RCN Nurse of the Year award for her dedication in achieving dramatic improvements in care

Angela Hall

Angela Hall has been named RCN Nurse of the Year for her innovative work in improving the care and safety of patients with heart rhythm disorders.

The arrhythmia nurse specialist was presented with the award at the RCNi Nurse Awards ceremony on Wednesday 4 July in London.

Nurse AwardsMs Hall was commended for driving the introduction of a new drug to treat rapid onset atrial fibrillation at Jersey General Hospital. The drug is not available in hospitals in the NHS.

This has helped to avoid the need for hospital admissions and has improved patients’ experience. It has also led to the introduction of other drugs for vulnerable patients on the island, meaning they no longer have to travel long distances for treatment.

Hard-working and dedicated

In addition, Ms Hall’s work has reduced the time patients have to wait to see a specialist doctor.

Patients experiencing blackouts were having to wait months to be seen by a cardiologist or neurologist, but are now seen within two weeks thanks to a rapid-access clinic for transient loss of consciousness, set up by Ms Hall.

A consultant described her as ‘one of the most hard-working and dedicated individuals I have worked with, achieving dramatic improvements for patients through her passion for innovation, her drive and her persistence’. The awards judges agreed.

Innovation award

Ms Hall was chosen as RCN Nurse of the Year for designing and delivering a range of services, transforming the care of her patients, pushing the boundaries of her role, and having the confidence and determination to secure the introduction of the new drug for her patients, as well as her evident enthusiasm and love of nursing.

The Nurse of the Year award
is sponsored by the RCN

In addition to being chosen as the overall winner, Ms Hall won the Innovation in Your Specialty award.

On being named Nurse of the Year, Ms Hall said: ‘I know you're not supposed to say “I just do my job”, but I do – and I am so lucky to do what I do. I have a brilliant team and this is for all of them. I’m shaking so much and just want to say thank you to everybody.

‘I’ve loved every minute of this, not just this evening but the whole RCNi Awards process – it is absolutely fantastic.’

The other category award winners are:

Andrew Parker Student Nurse Award

Winner – Katie Dutton, De Montfort University, Leicester

On winning the award, Ms Dutton said: ‘I feel like the luckiest girl in the world, the luckiest student in the world. I can’t put into words how much that moment meant to me when my name was called out. 

‘I didn’t expect it at all – I wanted all of the other students to win just as much because I absolutely believe in their projects and the work that they are doing, and they inspired me so much during the judging process.

‘It’s such a prestigious award. When I approach people about my sepsis project, to know that it’s got the recognition from such a big organisation in the nursing world will only strengthen my campaign to improve the care of patients with sepsis.’

Sponsored by Macmillan
Cancer Support

Cancer Nursing Award

Winner – Gillian Knowles and the metastatic cancer of unknown origin team, NHS Lothian 

Ms Knowles said: ‘I have been an oncology nurse for 35 years, so to be able to promote our work is fantastic. But this win has been a team effort, alongside my colleagues Sally Clive and Rachel Haigh.

‘Cancer of the unknown primary is a tough practice. Patients in this group have not been recognised in the same way as those in other tumour groups, so if we can improve the care and support for these people that would be huge. If we can use this award as a way of helping other services adapt their work that would be great.’

Child Health Award

Winner – Trudy Ward, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

Ms Ward said: ‘I am amazed. This award promotes nursing for children with very complex needs. It really illuminates and defines what the role is and promotes the value that it can bring. 

‘We are promoting nursing to commissioners, head teachers and the wider community too.’

Commitment to Carers Award

Sponsored by NHS England
Sponsored by NHS England

Winners – from left, Nasima Begum, Naz Islam and Hannah Bjorkstrand, Carers Hub, Tower Hamlets primary care mental health service, London

Ms Begum said: ‘There is so much good work out there. Everyone is a winner and we all have the same vision.

‘I will never, for one minute, get complacent. This will give me so much motivation. This is for the carers – carers are the hidden heroes.’

Community Nursing Award

Winner – Eric Teague-Hellon, Mitie Care and Custody, Staffordshire

Sponsored by Superdrug

‘I am absolutely amazed,’ said Mr Teague-Hellon. ‘Watching how good the other finalists’ work is and how strong they are has made it even more amazing to actually win the award.

‘I feel so privileged. Winning the award will enable me to spread the project further.’

Emergency Nursing Award

Winner – Heather Jarman, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London

Ms Jarman said: ‘I’m speechless but I’m more thrilled because it puts research into emergency nursing, a place it never was before, and it wouldn’t be possible without my extraordinary team.’

Cancer Research UK
Sponsored by Cancer
Research UK

Excellence in Cancer Research Award

Winner – Foteini Rozakeas, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Ms Rozakeas said: ‘I hope that by winning this award I can promote this study and raise awareness about it, not just locally but on a national level.

‘It’s a very sensitive study and I feel honoured and humbled that patients come forward to donate their tissue to metastatic cancer because without it we wouldn’t be able to make improvements in this area.’

Healthcare Assistant Award

Winner – Fiona Dilorenzo, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust 

Ms Dilorenzo said: ‘I was in such a great category with truly inspirational people and I kept telling myself “if I don’t win, it really does not matter”.

‘Everyone here is amazing at their job, whether that’s in diabetes care, end of life care, or learning disabilities – each so important.

‘I’m so overwhelmed that I have won. I did not know what to expect, but it was such a nice evening.’

Leadership Award

Winner – Yvonne Manson, Balhousie Care Group 

Ms Manson said: ‘I am overjoyed. It means the world to me. It goes some way to removing the stigma about care home nursing.

‘I want people to know they can achieve an excellent career. I would encourage other care home nurses and carers to share their stories.’

Sponsored by NHS England
Sponsored by NHS England

Learning Disability Nursing Award

Winner – Tracey Hartley-Smith, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust 

‘I am absolutely thrilled,’ said Ms Hartley-Smith. ‘We have started something wonderful in the north of Lancashire for people with a learning disability or autism. We did not have children’s learning disability services in the north of Lancashire and now we have and I am really appreciative of the commissioners in the north and the faith they have put in me.

‘Now we are working on an autism spectrum disorder pathway.’

Mental Health Practice Award

Winner – Rebekah Bewsey and the Brookside Adolescent Inpatient and Young People’s Home treatment team, North East London NHS Foundation Trust

Ms Bewsey thanked her team for their commitment, passion, hard work and belief. ‘Winning this award means having other people outside of our team, organisation, trust recognise the journey that we’ve been through and the improvements we’ve made for children and mental health.

‘Other organisations want to come to visit us and see the changes that the team has made.’

Nursing Older People Award

Winner – Lorraine Haining, NHS Dumfries and Galloway

Ms Haining said: ‘It is such an honour to win this award – it’s a wonderful reward for the whole team, not just for me. 

‘It’s a validation and acknowledgement of the work that has been undertaken and that it is making a difference. It is a fantastic opportunity to share our work with the wider world, but also to make connections with other organisations.’

Patient’s Choice Award

Sponsored by Yakult

Winners – from left, Caroline McCloskey, Alison Cairns and Bridgeen Canning, Renal Home Therapies Team, Altnagelvin Area Hospital, Western Health and Social Care Trust, Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Ms Cairns said: ‘Patient involvement in our service has always been very important, therefore we’re delighted we have been nominated for that particular category and have won it. To get the thumbs-up from them means everything.

‘What we do is really nothing that special and it’s what hundreds of thousands of nurses are doing and struggling to do throughout the country.’

Special Recognition Award

Winner – Mark Field, Buckley Boxing Club, near Wrexham, north Wales  

Mr Field said: ‘I’ll wake up tomorrow and wonder what’s happened, that’s how I feel. Flabbergasted, but at the same time I’m so glad for my team.

‘It won’t work without the team, they all give their time up for free, so it’s for the team as well as me.’

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