The nurses behind two new healthcare services in Great Yarmouth have been shortlisted as finalists in the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) Nursing Awards.
East Coast Community Healthcare’s (ECCH) Memory Impairment Nurse Practitioner Joanne Oldham is a finalist in the Community and General Nursing Practice Category, and Carer Support Nurse Karen Murphy, who also works for ECCH, is a finalist for the Innovations in your Specialty award. Both the Memory Impairment Nursing Service and the Carer Support Nurse service were launched as pilot programmes in the past year, having been commissioned by Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board.
As a Memory Impairment Nurse, Joanne Oldham supports adults in the Great Yarmouth area who are experiencing memory issues but who do not have a confirmed diagnosis of dementia. She assesses people in their homes, including carrying out phlebotomy, physiological and psychosocial assessments, and liaises with GPs and other healthcare professionals on treatment options. The service was set up in response to the decline in dementia diagnoses during the pandemic and has supported more than 180 patients so far.
The Carer Support Nurse service was developed by a team from the University of East Anglia (UEA), led by Professor Morag Farquhar, following research into the perceived lack of health provision for unpaid carers who support family/friends with health care needs, often to the detriment of their own health. It aims to support carers’ health and boost their skills and confidence to care.
To do this Karen visits unpaid carers at home to assess their health needs and refer them to other ECCH teams, such as occupational therapy for any equipment they may need to aid their role as carer, and other health, social care and voluntary services if required. During the set-up process the service was endorsed by more than 70 East of England stakeholders across the health, social care and voluntary sectors, as well as more than 100 carers and patients.
ECCH chief executive Ian Hutchison said: “We are thrilled Jo and Karen have been recognised in this way. These are both such important new services, meeting real needs in the community, and it is no mean feat to run a fledgling service by yourself and make a success of it. They are both so passionate about their work, and the innovation and creativity they have shown sums up the ethos of our organisation.”
Tricia D’Orsi, Executive Director of Nursing, NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said: “It is fabulous news to see Jo and Karen recognised as finalists in this year’s Royal College of Nursing Awards ceremony.
”Both the Memory Impairment Nursing Service and the Carer Support Nurse service are excellent examples of innovation and responding direct to the needs of our residents, staff and communities.”
Professor Morag Farquhar said: “Seeing our idea of a Carer Support Nurse role brought to life by Karen and the team at ECCH has been amazing. Then having the role endorsed, both in the feedback from carers who have used the service and from this recognition by the RCN award, is just fantastic!”
This year saw the highest ever number of entries for the RCN Nursing Awards with more than 920 submissions, from which 75 finalists were chosen.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Liverpool Cathedral on Friday 10th November.