They Care So Much about Their Job - So Let's Hear It for the Nation's Top Nurses; the Royal College of Nursing in Wales Hosted Its First Nurse of the Year Awards in November. Here, Health Wales Profiles Some of the Winners and the Work They Carry out Which Led to Their Success
THE first Nurse of the Year Awards to be held in Wales outlined some of the outstanding work performed by nurses across the country that often goes under the radar.
The event, which took place at Cardiff's City Hall at the end of 2012, was a chance to highlight the vital role played by nurses and the important projects that they run to improve care for their patients.
Royal College of Nursing Wales director Tina Donnelly revealed: "These awards demonstrate that turning to nurses is indeed the solution to many challenges.
"Nursing is about leadership and it is about caring.
"We must as nurses lead the way in ensuring caring is at the heart of what we do."
NURSE OF THE YEAR - LOUISE POLEY The 51-year-old from Cardiff won the grand prize at the ceremony for her work as a consultant nurse in substance misuse. She also won the award for mental health and learning disabilities nurse of the year.
Having worked at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board for 24 years, Louise's role sees her working with individuals with complex needs, including physical, psychological, social, substance misuse, housing and mental health needs.
She said: "I was very proud, but more specifically keen, to highlight the problems many of my clients face "The best part of the job is seeing hugely deprived, vulnerable individuals grow within the supportive environment that we offer them and working with committed and caring professionals.
It is important to recognise the work of nurses, as they are a huge workforce with a diverse set of skills.
"They can be creative and proactive even in challenging environments and recognition for this work promotes further ambition to provide the best care for their patients in a context of diminishing resources."
RUNNER-UP NURSE OF THE YEAR - LISA FRANKLIN The 41-year-old from Newport won the runner-up award for her role as a professional and practice development nurse.
Lisa, who has been nursing at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board for 19 years, also won the adult nurse category.
On a day-to-day basis, Lisa is responsible for the professional development of both registered and unregistered nursing staff working in general surgery, urology and head and neck, and for developing nursing practice in these areas.
She was nominated for her involvement in the work the health board has undertaken to prevent venous thromboembolism (blood clots) in hospital patients.
She said: "It felt fantastic to be nominated and a real privilege. Undoubtedly the best parts for me are helping nurses to develop and move forward in their careers, and being able to influence and improve patient care and the patient experience, although it can sometimes be challenging to balance competing priorities with doing a good job and really making a difference.
"All too often the media and press are full of bad news stories about the NHS and a minority group of nurses who don't do a good job. Rarely do you hear stories about how hard the majority of nurses are working in challenging conditions to make a real difference to the patients that they care for."
RUNNER-UP FOR ADULT NURSE - JENNY BUCKLEY The 45-year-old ward sister at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, was awarded the runner-up award for adult nursing.
Her day-to-day work involves management of a medical ward with 30 patients and 37 staff members.
She was the first ward nurse in Wales to implement the butterfly scheme - a tool which reaches out to people with dementia and cognitive impairment. …