Success for Belfast Trust nurses at RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year


Four Belfast Trust nurses and two health care assistants have received awards at the RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Awards 2014. Organised by the Royal College of Nursing, this is the eighteenth year of the awards, which took place at the Culloden Hotel, Holywood.

Linda Ferris,Ward Manager of the Endoscopy Unit at Belfast City Hospital, won the Team Manager Award. Nominated by her team, Linda was praised for having shown leadership and management skills across a number of areas. She has introduced pre-assessment for endoscopy and the unit’s activity has increased by 40%. Linda’s nominator says: “Her down to earth all-round approach is fuelled by a passion to improve the quality of care to her patients.” The judging panel was impressed by Linda’s capacity to promote high standards of care through the development of her team and her clear passion for the quality of care.

Liz Moore,Ward sister of an acute cardiology ward at Belfast City Hospital was runner-up in the Team Manager Award. Liz was praised for her “obvious desire to make a real difference to the care of patients by personally delivering excellent standards of care and ensuring her staff work alongside her to do the same”. The judging panel commended Liz for her ability to develop staff and empower them to deliver a good level of care while her nominator describes how she has transformed the ward into “a more organised, person-focused care environment.”

Linda Grubb and Angela Owens, Health Care Support Workers in the Dermatology unit at Belfast City Hospital, won the Health Care Support Worker Award, sponsored by the DHSSPS. Linda and Angela are described as being invaluable during procedures, to both staff and patients. Caring towards patients and colleagues alike, their nominator adds: “Linda and Angela help us to strive towards the key part of our role in delivering safe and effective care and improve the patients’ and relatives’ experience of our service.” The judging panel commended the ways in which Angela and Linda focus on safety, effectiveness and the patient experience, displaying great compassion, teamwork, motivation and organisation.

Patrick Mulholland, lead nurse at the heart failure service at Belfast City Hospital, received a commendation in the Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Award. Paddy has been in his current role for eleven years, and prior to this around 75 patients were reviewed at the heart failure clinic twice a month. Patients were not formally educated in the use of their medical devices and follow-up treatment and care was inadequate.

Paddy recognised the need to address these issues and developed a nurse-led heart failure service. Three clinics are held each week, in addition to a separate clinic where new patients agree a care plan, receive an explanation of their diagnosis, and are given advice on medicines, diet and exercise.

Clare McVeigh, a nurse in the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital, is a final year phd student based at Queen’s University, Belfast. Clare was runner-up in the Nursing Research Award, sponsored by the University of Ulster

While the majority of patients diagnosed with a malignant disease will have access to palliative care, it is less clear if the same care is available to those with non-malignant respiratory disease. Clare’s research focused on exploring the perceptions of palliative care provision for this group of people across both north and south of Ireland.

Her findings show that those caring for people with this condition are often unaware of their role and the support they receive can vary depending upon where they live. The study emphasised the need to improve communication and develop community services that provide holistic care, regardless of your postcode, as well as the need for healthcare professionals to work together across hospital and community settings.

About the Awards

Commenting on the Awards, RCN Northern Ireland Director Janice Smyth said: “Our winner demonstrates exactly how nurses can contribute to the reform of services and making health care better, more appropriate and more accessible for patients and their families.

“Despite ongoing challenges, it is clear that nurses are leading the way in Transforming your Care. Sometimes this is through establishing new and innovative services and at other times through health promotion and early intervention to reduce the need for people to require treatment and care in the first place.

“I am extremely encouraged by the excellence and innovation shown by nurses from across Northern Ireland, who continue to be committed to improving services and care for patients. Congratulations to all of our winners who are a credit to the nursing profession.”