Patients’ chance to nominate their hero for an RCNi Nurse Award

Nominations are now open for one of nursing’s most prestigious accolades, in which patients put forward the name of a nurse who has made a difference to the care of themselves or a loved one – the Patient’s Choice category of the 2018 RCNi Nurse Awards

Nominations have opened for one of nursing’s most prestigious accolades, in which patients name their nurse hero.

The Patient’s Choice category of the RCNi Nurse Awards sees a patient nominate a nurse who has made a real difference to the care of themselves or a loved one.

It is the only one of 14 categories in the 2018 awards to be decided by a vote open to the public.

Joanna O'Toole. Picture: John Houlihan

Last year’s winner Joanna O’Toole, a children’s respiratory nurse specialist, told of how she was touched to be nominated by the family of a girl with a rare syndrome.

Joanna looked after Amélie Chan, who has a genetic condition called Charge syndrome, for four years as both an outpatient and inpatient at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

Amélie’s mother Lesley Chan called Joanna ‘wonderful and courageous’ for the support she had shown her daughter while herself coping with a diagnosis of secondary cancer.

‘This is a wonderful accolade for her and her family,’ Ms Chan told Nursing Standard at the time of the 2017 award announcement.

‘It is testament to her selfless compassion and determination to continue to volunteer and care for families like ours.’

Source of reassurance

Amélie is profoundly deaf and partially sighted, so she relies on facial expression. Joanna made her laugh and was a constant source of reassurance to Ms Chan.

Joanna, who has now retired on medical advice, said of her award: ‘It made me very tearful to think that someone wrote those words about me.

‘It has been lovely for my family. My daughters – one of them is also a nurse – and my husband are gobsmacked that Lesley took the time to write such a nomination.’

She added: ‘I really got to know Amélie and her family. You have to give the care you would want for your own family – no half measures.’

Favourite nurse

Kelly Stackhouse. Picture: Tim George

Previous winners of the Patient's Choice category include lead bowel function clinical nurse specialist Kelly Stackhouse.

Kelly, who works for Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, was nominated for the 2016 award by a patient, Tom Owen, for helping him survive his rectal cancer and subsequent anterior resection.

Mr Owen said at the time: ‘Nominating your favourite nurse is a brilliant way of saying “Thank you so much”. And they appreciate it.’

All entries for the RCNi Nurse Awards 2018 close on Friday 9 February.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony dinner at the Park Plaza Hotel in London on Wednesday 4 July 2018.

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