Newtownabbey man wins health care accolade at Nursing Awards

A health care worker from Newtownabbey has been recognised for his '˜caring qualities' at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) NI Nurse of the Year Awards.

Pictured (L-R) are: Colette Baker, LV, Craig Chambers and Philip Martin, winners of the Health Care Support Worker Award and Janice Smyth, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland.

Craig Chambers, from Newtownabbey, was awarded joint winner in the Health Care Support Worker Award, sponsored by Liverpool Victoria (LV) at the Awards which were held recently in Holywood.

Craig is assistant falls practitioner in the Northern Trust and was nominated on the basis of his exceptional contribution to the care of older people who have experienced a fall at home but do not require emergency care.

Based at Antrim Area Hospital, Craig works within a team that, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, provides screening and relevant health promotion advice, as well as devising an action plan to help patients recover from a fall.

The judging panel commended Craig for his caring qualities, his commitment to his own development and his focus on infection control and patient safety.

Also based at Antrim Area Hospital, Jackie Williams, from Antrim, was runner-up in the Dementia Award, sponsored by Runwood Homes.

Jackie is manager of ward A1, a care of older people and stroke unit at Antrim Area Hospital. She was nominated “in recognition of her exceptional skills in professionally leading nursing and multidisciplinary teams towards person-centred, compassionate care for people with dementia and their families”.

Through Jackie’s commitment, the ward became a pilot site to trial and evaluate a tool to identify those at risk of delirium. She worked collaboratively with the regional Patient Safety Forum and Dementia NI to secure funding for distraction therapy resources resulting in patients and families reporting a deeper understanding of how to manage dementia complicated by delirium. Recorded incidences of falls and episodes of distressed behaviour on the ward reduced from 38 to four in just a year.

Commenting on the Awards, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland, Janice Smyth said: “This is the 22nd year of the Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Awards which have highlighted some of the best examples of nursing practice. Despite the wider health service continuing to face challenges, particularly during this period where there is a vacuum in political leadership, it is important to recognise and value the excellent care nurses provide to the people of Northern Ireland.

“Through these awards we have seen several examples that show clearly the contribution that nursing is making to health service transformation in Northern Ireland.”