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Meet the nominees – Practice Nurse and Community Nurse of the Year awards

The finalists for the General Practice Awards were revealed at the end of August, celebrating innovation, hard work and leadership within the primary care sector.

The 10th year of the awards sees a new category added – Community Nurse of the Year – to sit alongside the longstanding Practice Nurse of the Year award.

The awards will be held on 30 November in Park Plaza, Westminster, where the winners will be announced.

The following 10 nurses were, according to our judges, the outstanding candidates within each category. Read all about the work that has put them in contention to win either the Practice Nurse or Community Nurse of the Year awards.

Community Nurse of the Year

For this award, judges were looking for a community nurse who has made an outstanding contribution to their local area, to patient care or organisational leadership. Entrants had to show exceptional dedication, imagination or innovation within their local area over the past 18 months.

Maggie Bean, Field House Surgery

Queen’s nurse and primary care matron Maggie Bean leads and supports staff across six GP practices. She always goes ‘above and beyond’ to help staff deliver the best care to patients, according to colleagues.

She has adapted use of Perfect Ward app, more commonly used in secondary care, for a primary care setting, which involves monitoring standards of environment and supporting patient and staff feedback.

Ms Bean has also worked with the CCG and various partners to improve the quality and access of primary care to nursing students, in order to attract high quality nurses to primary care. All of the six practices she works across are now in a position to take nursing students.

Carole Knight, Hughenden Valley Surgery

‘The kind of nursing you hope your family would get if they were in that situation’, is how one colleague described Ms Knight’s work.

The community welfare and valiant nurse provides care to vulnerable adults in a ‘classic’ manner, visiting patients in their homes and not ‘trapped in an office’. She is known for going the extra mile and providing selfless dedication to her patients.

Ms Knight has overseen the care of over 400 of the surgery’s most vulnerable patients. For each patient she cares for, an average of 0.6 hospital admissions have been avoided, 9.6 GP practice consultations have been freed up and 7.9 out of hours contacts have been prevented.

Angie Reynolds, Eden ICC

The lead GP at Eden ICC, Dr Ashley Liston, has called Ms Reynolds’ impact ‘The Angie effect’. She has engaged patients and staff, bringing teams and disciplines together in her role as a transformation manager.

She has been ‘instrumental’ in joining together nursing and social care teams and creating a culture of collaboration within the ICC.

Ms Reynolds has exercised sensitivity and diplomacy in building and developing the ICC, such as her work in Alston, where she got community stakeholders involved in the planning process for the future of the cottage hospital’s bed based service, which was struggling with nurse recruitment.

The solution reached resulted in more patients being cared for, more patients keeping independence in their homes, and increased morale within the team.

Linda Thorley, Rock Cottage Care Home

This deputy nurse manager says her personal values of honesty, kindness and lifelong learning serve her well in her role in a community care home.

Awarded the title of Queen’s nurse last year, Ms Thorley takes pride in a compassionate style of nursing.

She set up ‘I care plans’, which are written as if the service user is speaking, to help see patients as individuals with choices, desires and beliefs. These have received good feedback from CQC inspectors and staff.

Ms Thorley also trains nurses, and has produced a training matrix to update staff on safeguarding, health and safety, infection control and risk assessment among other subjects.

Kerry Wykes, Redditch and Bromsgrove, Community Care North Service Delivery Unit

As an integrated community service lead in Worcestershire, Ms Wykes has used strong leadership skills to create a multidisciplinary team, ensuring a high standard of care for patients within their own homes.

She led a change in wound care product provision, which reduced annual spend by £16,000 in the first year and also improved patient outcomes. Following the change, staff said the quality of the provision had significantly improved.

Ms Wykes is also passionate about training nurses, and has been involved in the development of in-house leadership programmes for band 6 nurses, as well as mentoring and coaching.

Practice Nurse of the Year

For this award, judges were looking for a brilliant individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the provision of care in their practice over the past 18 months. Entrants had to show how they had an impact on their patients, colleagues and the practice as a whole, as well as dedication, imagination or innovation in their role.

Helen Crowther, Weardale Practice

After working in County Durham for the past 13 years, Ms Crowther noticed a decline in the number of women attending cervical screenings at Weardale Practice.

She set out to change that trend, ensuring women had access to the test, which can be lifesaving.

She changed the letter system, so the third reminder letter was sent out to patients on memorable pink paper, she telephoned patients to chat through the procedure and any barriers that might prevent them coming, and she established a flexible service with out of hours appointments and home visits for the housebound.

Three months after these changes were implemented, the number of women attending these screenings had doubled.

Ann Hughes, Tean Surgery

Driving the use of technology and innovation in this small practice in Staffordshire, Ms Hughes has greatly improved the surgery, according to a colleague.

She is an ‘enthusiast’ for digital nursing and believes that it can help provide excellent care to her patients. This includes apps and access to websites to help give patients a better understanding of their condition, and to reinforce the information given during consultation. Ms Hughes has also advocated for Flo telehealth text messages for patients to keep track of the management of their condition.

She has been called a ‘fantastic’ nurse and ‘very much a patient advocate’ who has inspired her colleagues to adopt new methods of care.

Ian Parsonage, Compass House Medical Centre

Over the past 12 months, this lead advanced nurse practitioner has set up and managed the audit cycle for the practice, personally trained all the staff in resus and implemented a new Monday morning triage system to help increase capacity.

He also mentors and trains other nurses and has designed and implemented a system to get patients to the right clinician, called Compass Health Navigation. This system saved around 40 hours of GP/ANP time over a four month period.

This ‘truly inspirational’ nurse is loved by both staff and patients. He has been called an ‘asset’, ‘patient centred’ and ‘always so willing to help’ by colleagues.

Michelle Richards, Abbey Medical Centre

Over the past two years as nurse manager at Abbey Medical Centre, Ms Richards has ‘transformed’ the nursing team, according to a colleague.

She is one of two primary care nurse mentors in the South Warwickshire CCG, and was recently given the role of nurse mentor lead, which will involve getting more nurses to mentor student nurses. Ms Richards has also started a bi-monthly training scheme for all GPs and nurses in the area, where speakers cover training on specific conditions.

Ms Richards has a ‘natural ability to teach’ and has inspired all of her trainees to express an interest in working in general practice.

Rachel Viggars, Ashley Surgery

This practice nurse was promoted to clinical nurse lead at Ashley Surgery in 2016, and was subsequently made a Queen’s nurse for being highly skilled in her field of community nursing. The practice has since achieved 100% QOF points by providing care to patients with long-term conditions.

Ms Viggars has also been involved in developing an evidence into practice group in the area, whose work has been published in a nursing journal. She mentors, teaches and assesses trainee nurses, and is also studying an MSc diploma in frailty and integrated care.

She has been called an ‘extremely dedicated nurse, with a wide range of medical and nursing knowledge and ability’.