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RCNi Leadership Award goes to immunisation innovators

Two nurses who set up a county-wide, school-age immunisation programme from scratch and launched within six months have won the leadership category of the prestigious RCNi Nurse Awards.

Amy Sims and Susie Scales
Award winners Amy Sims and Susie Scales

Healthy Child Programme service lead Susie Scales and immunisation co-ordinator Amy Sims, from Derbyshire Community Health Services, sought to take over responsibility for vaccinations throughout the county.

Vaccinations had previously been delivered through GP surgeries, but take-up rates were historically poor.

The nurses were already involved in the delivery of children’s public health services and could see an opportunity to improve vaccination take-up rates through the collaboration of health visitors, school nurses, and school and local authority staff.

Having won the contract, Susie and Amy designed, led and implemented their immunisation service from nothing. They recruited, trained and developed a team that was not only competent and safe, but also able to cover an extensive geographical area.

'Amazing feat'

The programme has been a great success, far exceeding all its targets.

One judge called it ‘an amazing feat of leadership’. Susie and Amy were named the winners of the award, supported by Nursing Management, at a gala ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London.

The nurses’ manager at the time, Helen Cooper, who nominated them said: ‘Starting a brand new, school-aged immunisation service with no trained staff, resources, equipment, office space, history or training requires extreme leadership.

'This is what these two amazing nurses brought to the table to provide an outstanding service to the children of Derbyshire. It takes a proactive leader to recognise opportunities and to, not only take action, but to bring an entire team and wider partners on their journey.'

Good understanding

Susie said: ‘We both have a good understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities, and we trust each other to carry out what is needed for the team to run smoothly.’

Amy agreed, adding: ‘We have different leadership styles, but together we work well. We are proud of our team and what we achieved, and we share a commitment to continue to work hard and make a difference.’

Nursing Management consultant editor Barry Quinn was on the Nurse Awards judging panel and was struck by the nurses’ working relationship.

He said: ‘This complementary relationship has enabled two innovative leaders to reach out to children and young people across Derbyshire’.

Further information

For the full story, including a photo gallery, click here.

For a round up of all the winners, finalists and coverage of the night’s events, go to RCNi's Nurse Awards home page.

The RCNi Nurse Awards

The RCNi Nurse Awards are the profession’s top accolade for nursing excellence. They recognise and reward nurses who have come up with new ways to improve health outcomes, enhance patient experiences and transform nursing practice. The awards provide a fantastic opportunity to share nursing initiatives, raise the profile of nursing, gain national recognition and influence nursing policy and practice.

Look out for details of how to enter the 2018 awards!