Inspirational primary care nurse wins RCN Nurse of the Year 2023

Julie Roye of East London NHS Foundation Trust used co-production and innovative ideas to improve smear uptake rates for diverse groups and is Nurse of the Year

Primary care nurse Julie Roye holds her award for RCN Nurse of the Year 2023
Julie Roye, RCN Nurse of the Year 2023 Picture: John Houlihan

What greater celebration of the role general practices nurses could there be than one of them winning the title of RCN Nurse of the Year 2023?

Julie Roye, self-confessed champion of equitable cancer screening, has been rewarded for her exceptional leadership skills in developing initiatives that break down health inequalities and drive the uptake of smear tests.

This inspirational primary care nurse leads a team who use co-production and innovative ideas to improve smear uptake rates for diverse groups, including non-English speakers, sexual abuse survivors and those with a learning disability.

Award winner helped break down barriers for a diverse patient population

After helping to break down barriers to access for a diverse patient population, the uptake of smear tests in Bedford increased from 54% to 80% over nine months

Ms Roye, who is head of nursing primary care at East London NHS Foundation Trust, received the award at a ceremony in Liverpool Cathedral. She won praise for her ‘truly inclusive’ and comprehensive approach, co-production of services with the people who use them and her focus on staff development.

Ms Roye admits there were challenges and some backlash, but she was able to communicate her vision for change and recognise staff for each successful step. Staff say that her ‘inclusive and impactful’ approach has improved morale.

Culture of inclusivity and equity in delivery of care

Ms Roye is ‘delighted and humbled’ to be named RCN Nurse of the Year 2023 and plans to use the award as a platform to drive improvements in primary care services in her area and beyond.

‘By addressing different groups’ unique needs, we’ve made significant strides in reducing healthcare disparities and promoted a culture of inclusivity and equity in the care we give,’ she adds. ‘It is a very replicable model.’

Go to RCN Nurse of the Year 2023: ‘We empower patients with choice’ to find out more about how all the changes were made and for tips on what can be achieved with innovative ideas.

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