A Winning night at RCN Nurse of the Year Awards


At a Gala event last night in Hillsborough Castle, Belfast Trust celebrated multiple winners in this year’s RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Awards. As ever, these awards provide the opportunity to highlight excellence within nursing in Northern Ireland and the contribution that nurses make to the health and well-being of the people of Northern Ireland.


David Ferran was awarded the RCN Student of the Year. David is based in the dermatology out-patients department of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. In each practice learning experience, David has shown great professionalism, with mentors praising the dignity and respect he demonstrates towards patients and recognising the confidence and competence he displays in delivering patient care.  

Neill Montgomery – runner up in Defence Nursing Reservist Award. Neill is one of our hospital at night co-ordinators. He joined the Army Reserve in 2003 as a registered general nurse, and in 2010 led a multinational critical care team in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, subsequently qualifying as an instructor in battlefield advanced trauma life support.Neill delivers training days by which he shares his clinical expertise and experience. The judging panel complimented Neill for his outstanding contribution to the education of military and civilian colleagues in order to deliver the very best possible standards of patient care.


Ann Cusack RCN Health Care Assistant of the year. Ann is employed within the busy renal in-patient unit at Belfast City Hospital and has been recognised for the compassion and dignity that she displays towards patients and their families. Her nominating team paid tribute to Ann’s attention to detail, ensuring that she provides “the very small, personal and individual aspects of care that make her patients feel valued and respected”.​


In the Patient’s Choice Award we were double winners, with Muckamore Abbey Hospital staff nurse Melissa Steele winning the category. Melissa has been nominated by the parents of a 19 year old man with severe autism and significant learning difficulties. The parents recognised that their son was struggling to cope with life’s day-to-day challenges and that this was causing him severe anxiety and, in their words, “mental breakdown”. The parents describe how Melissa watched, observed and communicated with the patient in order to familiarise herself with his unique traits, likes, dislikes and what makes him anxious, happy or sad. It wasn’t long before the parents felt that Melissa understood the patient as well as they did.


David Moore came runner up in this category. David is a respiratory nurse specialist at the Mater Hospital. He has been nominated by five patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] who state: “We literally do not know what we would have done without his support, knowledge and expertise"


Michael Rooney came runner up in the Inspiring Excellence Award in mental health and learning disability. Michael manages a 19-bedded female mental health acute admissions ward and recognised that hospital admission can be a difficult experience for many patients, causing anxiety and a loss of control and independence. Michael has developed and driven a new recovery-focused project entitled ‘Recovery begins with hope’.