It was a night of success for Hywel Dda University Health Board’s nursing team with three winners and five runners up at this year’s RCN Wales Nurse of Year Awards 2021.
The prestigious annual awards took place in a virtual ceremony on Wednesday 10 November 2021 to celebrate the outstanding achievements of all the finalists, including their positive influence on best nursing practice and improving the care given to individuals and communities in Wales.
Many congratulations go to Christine Brookes, Student Nurse/School Nurse Support Worker, winner of the Nursing Student Award; Anwen Mai Jones, Community Diabetes Specialist Nurse in Ceredigion for winning the Community Nursing Award; and Sue Rees BEM, Advanced Nurse Practitioner (Community Infection Prevention) for winning the Improving Individual and Population Health Award.
Runners-up on the night were:
Suzanne Davies, Rheumatology Clinical Nurse Specialist in Withybush Hospital, Pembrokeshire in the Innovation and Digitalisation in Nursing category
Betsan Ifans, Nursery Nurse/Health Visitor Support Worker in Fishguard, Pembrokeshire in the Health Care Support Worker category
Sarah Kingdom-Mills, Care Home Education Facilitator in the Supporting Education and Learning in Practice category
Bethan Lewis, Interim Assistant Director of Public Health in the Improving Individual and Population Health category
Rebecca McDonald, Paediatric Palliative Care Nurse/Community Children’s Nurse in the Suzanne Goodall Paediatric Nursing category
Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board, Steve Moore said: “I’m delighted that Christine, Anwen, Sue, Suzanne, Betsan, Sarah, Bethan and Rebecca have been recognised at this prestigious national awards ceremony.
“I am enormously proud of them, and all our nursing staff, for the high quality care they continue to deliver every day for our patients. It’s especially remarkable and inspiring that all these successes were gained through sheer hard work and commitment while facing the challenges of a global pandemic.”
Read on to find out more about the fantastic work of our winners and runners-up:
Nursing Student Award – Winner: Christine Brookes, Student Nurse/School Nurse Support Worker
Studying on the ‘Grow Your Own’ 4-year health board programme, Christine has supported the COVID-19 Command Centre’s operation in both the testing function and vaccination programme, with a forward-thinking approach and thirst for learning.
Christine developed resource packs, available in English and Welsh, to help fellow and incoming students to navigate their work.
Christine’s positive attitude lifted colleagues in highly pressured times, while her flexibility showed exceptional commitment to her future profession.
Christine said: “I feel honoured to have won this award. The last 18 months have been challenging, however I have loved every placement. I have been privileged to work alongside and learn from amazing mentors, colleagues and fellow students throughout my training.
“I am proud to represent Hywel Dda University Health Board and Swansea University and will continue to embrace every learning opportunity, to continue to develop both professionally and personally. It really was a lovely surprise to be nominated, and I am very thankful.”
Community Nursing Award – Winner: Anwen Mai Jones, Community Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Ceredigion
Anwen has served the diabetes community of Ceredigion for many years as a community diabetes specialist nurse (CDSN), cultivating a distinctive approach to community care. Her innovative method involves implementing evidence-based care for patients and constantly encouraging colleagues to re-evaluate the care offered.
She promoted close collaboration with GP practices in Ceredigion, bringing care closer to patients’ homes and enabling GPs to meet their diabetes enhanced service targets and demonstrate quality improvement.
Anwen’s approach has led to improved patient satisfaction, stable prescribing costs and greater confidence in managing diabetes. These changes have all been propelled by Anwen’s passion for promoting individualised care, and sharing specialist knowledge widely among staff, patients and carers.
Anwen commented: “I am humbled and honoured to receive this award. It is a great honour and the greatest achievement of my nursing career. The joint collaborative working between me and primary and community care colleagues ensured improvement to the local diabetes service, demonstrating the benefit of integration and communication. I hope that by winning this award, I will inspire nursing colleagues to evaluate, reflect and enhance the care they provide by having the vision to question and improve services.”
Improving Individual and Population Health Award – Winner: Sue Rees BEM, Advanced Nurse Practitioner (Community Infection Prevention)
Sue was expertly positioned to lead on the community COVID-19 infection prevention challenge and response. She produced an infection prevention model and made a life-saving difference on countless occasions. As the pandemic approached, Sue held vital knowledge and a unique role in Wales as an advanced nurse practitioner in community infection prevention, with a strategic health board remit.
After retiring from her full-time role in 2018, she returned to work for three days per week. She promptly shared expertise across the community to equally benefit patients, residents, health care staff and partners.
Her wide-reaching work included implementing COVID-19 infection prevention policies, commissioning screening units, training British army personnel, and supporting outbreaks in care homes, community hospitals, primary care settings and schools. She also developed processes and policy within a local asylum camp.
These actions, together with outbreak management plans, undoubtedly saved lives. Sue has communicated the COVID-19 infection prevention model with colleagues across Wales and hopes to present it to wider audiences.
Sue said: “It is a tremendous honour to have been shortlisted for and win the Improving Individual and Population Health Award. It’s an acknowledgement of the intense COVID-19 response work in the community.
“As a nurse for 39 years this award is a privilege and this achievement is momentous within my incredible and rewarding nursing career. I am delighted that my commitment and passion for infection prevention and control nursing has been recognised in the RCN Nurse of the Year awards.”