Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Caring Comes First for Winner

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Caring Comes First for Winner

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alison Dargie

She is one of the new breed of nurse practitioners taking on "doctors' jobs" ( but caring still comes first for Nurse of the Year Clare Westwood.

Back on duty yesterday, the 32-year-old, who is based at Darlington Memorial Hospital, County Durham, brushes off accusations that modern nurses are too clever to care.

Describing her own working life and ambitions, she says that though modern nurses have more responsibilities than ever, her role is, and always will be, crucially different to that of a doctor.

Clare has made use of her extra training and skills to set up a range of new services for bowel patients, which have seen waiting times plummet.

Her achievements won her the Nurse of the Year award at Thursday's NHS Health and Social Care Awards.

As a colorectal nurse practitioner, she has to deal with a certain amount of squeamishness or childish humour both with patients and when she tells people what she does.

She said: "People are often too embarrassed to go to the doctor's when they think something is wrong but if they had a problem with their arm or their leg they would be straight down the doctors. We've done a lot of fund raising and awareness raising about bowel cancer which is really important."

Her working week begins at 8am on Monday, when she runs a one-stop rectal bleed clinic for patients with bowel problems referred by their GP.

Her training means she can carry out an internal scan, called an endoscopy herself, instead of having to refer patients on to a doctor which saves time and gives patients the reassurance of dealing with one person for most of their treatment.

"When people have any bleeding the first thing they think of is bowel cancer, so they're often quite nervous."

She leaves at around 5.30pm and most days heads straight to the gym or out for a cycle ride before spending the evening relaxing at her home in St Edmunds Green, Sedgefield, with husband Barry, 43, a risk assessor for Cheltenham & Gloucester. …

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