Charge nurse ‘completely humbled’ to be named RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year

Award winner emphasises importance of patient dignity – and engagement of all staff 
Chris Wamsley, Charlotte McArdle and Janet Davies

Award winner emphasises importance of patient dignity – and engagement of staff in all departments 

Chris Wamsley with his team

A charge nurse who believes fundamental nursing concerns of dignity and compassion should be at the core of every nursing team has been named RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year.

Chris Wamsley, a charge nurse at the Mater Hospital, Belfast received the award for leading a ward team in developing their vision for patient care.

Mr Wamsley, who qualified in 2009, designed the ‘dress for success’ initiative based on the #EndPJparalysis and The Last 1,000 Days work of professor Brian Dolan. This focuses on promoting dignity and independence by encouraging patients to get out of bed, get dressed and remain mobile wherever possible. 

Mr Wamsley's initiative promotes the increased involvement of relatives in patients' care and protects time for staff to engage in purely social interaction with patients.

The charge nurse said: ‘I believe every nursing team should have basic nursing care – dignity, compassion and safety – at their core and then build on that.

‘We built our own initiative and tried to expand it throughout the organisation so everyone from support services to consultants are involved. I’ve always been so passionate about nursing so I am completely humbled to receive the RCN award.’

Bernie Carlin: ‘It’s wonderful to have your everyday work acknowledged’

Another winner was Bernie Carlin, who qualified as a nurse almost 30 years ago and won the public health award for her work with the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) at Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

She said: ‘I am honoured I was nominated, it is wonderful to have your everyday work acknowledged and be in the company of so many healthcare professionals.

‘It is good to see the work of public health nurses and family nurses being highlighted. I work with young parents from a range of diverse backgrounds and their resilience always surprises me.

‘They always ask the question ‘why?’ when you tell them something – it makes you evaluate your own practice.’

RCN Northern Ireland director, Janice Smyth said: ‘Despite the wider health service continuing to face challenges, particularly during this period where there is a vacuum in political leadership, it is important to recognise and value the excellent care nurses provide to the people of Northern Ireland.

‘Through these awards we have seen several examples that show clearly the contribution that nursing is making to health service transformation. I am extremely encouraged by the innovation shown by our finalists, who are a credit to the profession.’

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Read the full list of award winners here

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