Truly inspirational

Posted on in Staff

An inspirational nurse has been presented with a Nightingale Award for transforming the care of dementia patients.

Nightingale Award winner 2012 Kim-Barstow

This year the theme of the event was “I see the person in every patient” so it was quite fitting that the overall winner was Kim of ward 3 who has worked hard to enhance the experience of patients with dementia and offer support to their families.

Kim has worked for the trust for nearly three years and has developed a special interest in improving the care dementia patients receive.

She was nominated by a range of staff for her “hard work, commitment and enthusiasm” and for being passionate about patient care.

Kim led the way in implementing the Alzheimer’s Society’s “This is me” initiative on the ward which pulls together information and photos about each patient’s life to generate discussions and enable professionals to see the real person behind the dementia.

Clinical Matron Beth Swanson was among those to nominate Kim. She said: “Kim’s passion and leadership is helping to improve care and she is truly an inspiring nurse and future nurse leader.”

Kim said: “I cannot put into words how honoured I am to win such an award. For me I was just doing my job and could not do this with out the great team I work with.

“We have developed training around what it feels like to have dementia, experiencing some of the deficits often expressed by patients with dementia, communication, anxiety etc. Getting the staff to truly have empathy with this disease was part of braking down barriers.

“We have also looked at the environment and are in talks to have the ward decorated dementia friendly when the tower is re-modernised.”

The Nightingale Awards recognise the unique and important contribution nursing and midwifery makes to patients and their families on a day-to-day basis.

Patients were invited to share their stories with Linda Oliver talking about enhancing the care of the blind and visually impaired, Jen Lappin sharing a story of cancer, care and compassion and Nicola Simmons telling how staff at James Cook pulled out all the stops to make sure her daughter Hannah, who has to be permanently attached to a life support machine, got her birthday wish to go swimming.

“Truly inspirational” was how guest speaker Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, described South Tees nurses and midwives at this year’s Nightingale Awards.

She said: “If people can come here and learn things from you, as you have from others, the world will be a better place.”

This year the awards, which took place at Middlesbrough Teaching and Learning Centre, even got a number of mentions on social networking site Twitter.

Guest speaker Dr Helen Bevan from the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, summed up the day’s events by tweeting: “@SouthTees…you lead the NHS in innovation and improvement but you don’t recognise how special you are.”