Ward sister who has transformed the care of vulnerable patients named RCN Nurse of the Year

RCN Nurse of the Year award has gone to Melanie Davies for her work championing the well-being of people with learning disabilities

Melanie Davies has been named RCN Nurse of the Year for her work championing the wellbeing of people with learning disabilities.

Melanie Davies, RCN Nurse of the Year 2017. Picture: Mark Hakansson

Ms Davies was presented with her award at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel on Friday night at the RCNi Nurse Awards ceremony.

Ms Davies works as a ward sister for the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board at Morriston Hospital, in Swansea.

She has played an instrumental role in transforming care for those with learning disabilities since the death of a patient with severe learning difficulties in 2009.

An ombudsman’s 2011 report criticised the care received by Paul Ridd, a happy, much-loved brother in his fifties, as ‘dire’. Mr Ridd died on Ward G, a surgical ward specialising in upper gastrointestinal and pancreatic complaints, in January 2009. Melanie joined as ward sister in December 2010.

Paul Ridd Foundation

Ms Davies has worked alongside Mr Ridd’s family in their campaign to improve care for people with learning disabilities in the NHS through the Paul Ridd Foundation ever since.

She trains all staff to recognise the individual and involve patients, their carers and families in all planning and decision-making. She builds relationships with new learning disability liaison nurses and her work has been credited for making discharge safer. 

In her own time Ms Davies developed information packs for the nurse team and her work has seen such success it is now being replicated across NHS Wales.

Ms Davies also won the  Learning Disability Practice Award at the RCNi Nurse Awards.

She said: 'I am shocked, honoured and amazed - I just can't believe it.

'I've got a fantastic team behind me and work with fantastic people but ultimately this award is for Paul Ridd and his family.

'This is something we can give back to them and show how care has improved and now I just want to keep on going.

'We've done so much in the last few years and now we want to get the whole package of support out - maybe see a national mechanism in place.'

Read more about the RCN Nurse of the Year award winner here

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