England’s Chief Nursing Officer, Ruth May surprised seven nurses working for the Newcastle Hospitals today, when she awarded them with her coveted Chief Nursing Officer medals.
Six nurses received a Silver Medal which recognises major contributions to patient care and the nursing and midwifery profession.
Ms May also awarded her highest possible accolade – the Gold Medal – recognising a nurse or midwife’s lifetime achievement and is only given in exceptional circumstances, for unique individuals.
The Gold Award was bestowed to senior nurse, Suzanne Medows on the very day she retired from the Newcastle Hospitals following a much respected nursing career spanning over 40 years.
Suzanne was nominated for the Gold Medal in recognition of her superb leadership skills with many nurses and student nurses citing her as the reason they have enjoyed outstanding learning and mentoring experiences whilst developing their own nursing careers.
Ms May – who announced her awards during a virtual ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions – described Suzanne as highly valued and respected because she worked tirelessly to go above and beyond, and showed a passion for education and the development of others.
During her speech she said “There are not many people that I give a Gold Award to and I’d like to give this to you to say a personal and huge thank you for your leadership over a number of years, and investing in the next generation of our profession. Thank you for what you have done.”
Of her Gold Medal Suzanne said “I don’t think anybody could begin to understand how much it’s meant to me to work with such fantastic people over the last 40 odd years in Newcastle. This award means so much. Thank you.”
Suzanne’s nursing career began in October 1976 at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where she worked in acute medicine and then coronary care. Over the years she became a recognised nursing leader with a passion for education and developing others.
Chief Executive Nurse for Newcastle Hospitals, Maurya Cushlow said “I am delighted to see so many of my colleagues receive a Chief Nursing Officer Award – each and every one of them a worthy winner – and I would like to extend my personal thanks to them for all that they do, and to Ruth for making this event so special for them.
“In particular, Suzanne’s Gold Medal – the highest of our Chief Nursing Officer’awards – is a most fitting accolade to celebrate the significant contribution she has had made through her career towards high quality, safe patient care, and ensuring educational and practice development opportunities of the highest standard are available for all our nurses and midwives. I’m sure everyone joins me in wishing her a very happy and healthy retirement”.
Silver Medal winners
Ian Joy, Associate director of nursing who was awarded in recognition of his dedicated work as the Trust Lead for ensuring nursing and midwifery safe staffing. His citation describes Ian as someone in whom staff feel complete trust and confidence, who demonstrates expert leadership and knowledge and whose work has been recognised both regionally and nationally.
Dr Clare Abley is a Nurse consultant for vulnerable older adults and is greatly respected for her expertise in the care of older, vulnerable adults specialising in dementia. She is passionate about ensuring patient centred care for patients with dementia when in hospital, and has developed a Dementia Care Leaders’ Toolkit which has been published in national journals.
Peter Towns, Associate director of nursing was awarded his Silver Medal in recognition of his commitment to challenging stereotypes that affected him and have discouraged men from pursuing a nursing career. This has led to a recently launched children’s book ‘My Daddy is a Nurse’ which challenges the assumption that all nurses are women, by showcasing men working in the profession.
Sharon De Vera is a staff nurse working in the Freeman Hospital’s cardiothoracic theatres.Sharon left the Philippines nearly 10 years ago to join the nursing and midwifery family at Newcastle Hospitals and her passion for helping international nurses settle in the UK is key to the ongoing success of the pastoral support programme at Newcastle Hospitals, advising on matters of finance, well-being and social.
Hilary Earl, Matron and service lead for babies, children and young people up to the age of 19 yearsreceived her medal recognising her leadership in empowering staff to create a dedicated safeguarding ‘oversight team’ with a single point of contact to ensure families with young children could continue to be supported during the COVID-19 pandemic when face to face contact was no longer possible.
Jackie Rees is a Nurse consultant leading on issues affecting the bladder and bowels, an area many people feel uncomfortable talking about. Jackie’s passion for helping people with these conditions is legendary in Newcastle, and has beenrecognised nationally. In particular she is known for her dedication to ensuring that patients with bladder or bowel health care needs are assessed, with treatment options offered, rather than a containment product.