During a special ceremony at Teesside University, Beth Rookes was named overall winner of the Nightingales for her exemplary nursing care.
Beth, who also picked up the Staff Nurse Award, said “I’m overwhelmed. It’s lovely to have the recognition. Although I don’t feel I did anything out of the ordinary – I just did my job. I’m really happy.”
Clare Allinson, renal advanced nurse practitioner, nominated Beth after working together when reviewing a patient with a terminal kidney condition.
Clare said: “The situation was very unusual and complex. The patient, who spoke no english, had decided to stop treatment and return to her home country in Eastern Europe to die. Beth was heavily involved in this lady’s care and eventual discharge.
“Beth was part of several lengthy multidisciplinary team meetings – where a group of professionals from a number of different clinical disciplines together make decisions regarding the recommended treatment of an individual patient.
“Not only was Beth incredibly professional, she was caring, patient, always approachable and remained a constant calming figure. Her communication was excellent and, despite the language barrier, she was able to maintain communication and a therapeutic relationship with the patient. And she was able to support the discharge even though she had several other sick patients to care for.
“When the patient was ready to be discharged, Beth made sure the lady was comfortable and had the details of who to contact if she needed help. Beth ensured all the appropriate medications had been appropriately reviewed and were ready so they could be transported with the patient – and importantly she had enough for her long journey.
“It was only after the patient was safely discharged that I found out Beth had not long been qualified: she qualified in 2017. Having found this out, I was even more impressed with what Beth did because any nurse could have struggled to cope with such a complex situation and discharge, but Beth did it brilliantly and didn’t lose sight of what the patient wanted.”
Beth Rookes with the Nightingale Award
Other nurses who were honoured at the awards included double award winner Pauline Singleton, who picked up the Senior Award and the Paediatric Award.
Pauline received a heartfelt nomination by one of her patients. The patient, who has cystic fibrosis, said that Pauline had “gone out of her way to support me and my family. She has helped me to put together a bucket list and achieve some of these things…including seeing my favourite rapper.”
The Friends of the Friarage Award went to Elaine Gray, a heart failure specialist nurse at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton. Elaine was nominated by her colleagues; with one consultant praising the “significant amount of support Elaine gives to the team, patients and families – especially in the Richmondshire area.”
Robert Smith was winner of the Student Nurse Award following his nomination by the family of a terminally ill patient Robert had cared for. The family said Robert “showed qualities of which the NHS should be proud” and that he had “made a big difference to (the patient’s) final days and this would never be forgotten by the family.”
Laura Simons received the honour of being given the Sister Award for her work as a Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) nurse. Laura has been instrumental in the adoption of a “Feeding Gastrostomy Passport” for patients across the Trust. This ensures vital information is available to care-providers in the event of a PEG related emergency out-of-hours in non-local trusts or where records are not immediately available.
Sergeant Lindsey Collinson who picked up the Military Award was nominated for her work in Intensive Care at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, and her “professional clinical ability, her strong clinical leadership and management skills.”
Tracey Jones took the Mentor Award, as student midwife nurses praised her for “outstanding leadership and communication skills not just to (students) but to the woman and families in her care”.
Mark Bond was given the Healthcare Assistant Award. He was nominated by his colleagues for being a “valuable member of the theatre team” and “because of his knowledge and experience, Mark has become the natural person for new health care assistants to shadow.”
Paulina Rossi received the Midwifery Award following a family’s nomination for “going above and beyond” and the “support, guidance and drive” she provided to them during their new born baby’s illness.
And Pam Hatt picked up the Community Services Award for the care she gave to a terminally ill patient who wanted to die at home. Pam’s care extended to the family who felt “lucky to have received her expertise and compassion.”
Helen Fysh received the Exceptional Act of Kindness Award. She was nominated for her care and compassion towards an elderly gentleman at Christmas. The man often visits the Accident and Emergency department at James Cook, not as a patient but to bring small gestures of gratitude for the staff, such as a couple of packet of biscuits, for the care both his parents received over the last few years – both of whom are now deceased. The man said that Christmas time was a tough period in his life and that he was going to be on his own. With that in mind, Helen, who was working on Christmas Day, arranged a staff collection for him and had a hamper of goods ready for him when he arrived.
There were also awards for whole teams, including Lynn Murphy the Short Stay Unit, who were given the Team Award for their work in establishing a brand new ward – working together successfully in a short space of time to provide safe, effective care.
Ward 7 at James Cook took the Learning Environment Award for providing student nurses with support and encouragement. In nominating Ward 7, one student said the team’s “integrity and core values shone through for anyone to see” and “that without each and every one of them, I wouldn't be the nurse I am today.”
And Ward 14 – Oncology, picked up the Patients’ Award. They were nominated by the family of a patient who spent several weeks on the ward. The patient had complex needs and a learning disability. The staff showed great teamwork not only to provide the excellent care you’d expect, but to help to ease the patient’s anxiety.
The Specialist Palliative Care Team won the Poster Award, which recognises the best poster produced by nurse, midwife and clinical teams in the past 12 months.
And a Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Debbie Christian, matron for the Urgent Emergency Care Centre at James Cook, in the year of her retirement. This was testament to the “countless contributions” Debbie has made “to make the matron’s role what it is today.”
And finally, there was a special award for Val Fothergill who retires later this year. Val has been instrumental in the running of the Nightingale Awards since they started in 2003 and this award was in appreciation of her hard work and dedication to a role above and beyond her daily responsibilities.
Gill Hunt, director of nursing and midwifery at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said she “These awards recognise those nurses and midwives who go above and beyond the call of duty as they strive to provide the highest standards of patient care across our Trust - and we are extremely proud to call them our colleagues.”
The organisation of this year’s successful event was led by Kay Branch, acting head of midwifery, and Jane Knowles, nurse consultant for infectious diseases, with the kind support of various senior nursing colleagues.
Nightingale 2019 overall winner Beth Rookes (centre) with Jane Knowles, nurse consultant (left) and by Kay Branch, acting head of midwifery (right)