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Bereaved husband and bereaved wife unite to nominate exceptional district nurse for top accolade

15 May 2019

A nurse who goes ‘over and above’ to support people in Cumbria the end of life has been shortlisted for a prestigious RCNi Nurse Award.

District nurse Andrea Jennings is one of five inspirational finalists in the Patient’s Choice category of the profession’s top accolades for excellence.

The award enables members of the public to thank a nurse, midwife, health visitor, healthcare assistant or assistant practitioner who has provided exceptional care.

A public vote to choose the winner was launched on May 1. Ms Jennings will find out whether she has won at a ceremony in the Westminster Park Plaza hotel, London, on July 3.

One day Jonas Thorsen and Catherine Dwyer were discussing losing their spouses to cancer when they realised they had something in common – outstanding care from district nurse Andrea Jennings.

‘She is proactive and a problem solver,’ say Ms Dwyer. ‘She gives of herself and cares for not just the patient but their families as well.’

Ms Dwyer says the clinical excellence of the Queen’s Nurse made a huge difference to her husband’s quality of life.

Referring to Mr Thorsen’s wife, Yvonne, she adds: ‘When Yvonne was admitted to the hospice, Andrea telephoned and visited to see how she was. When she returned home, she had Andrea’s personal mobile number so she could call her at any time.

‘Between 6pm and 8pm there is no nursing cover in the area. Andrea would always phone to check whether Yvonne needed any pain relief before the night nurses took over. After our spouses died, Jonas and I both appreciated Andrea’s ongoing care.’

Ms Jennings, who works for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, says: ‘I’m not one for being in the centre of the limelight. I was a bit taken aback when I received the call to say I had been nominated.’

She stresses that while she made an extra connection with these patients, the care provided was a team effort. ‘My brilliant team was working hard looking after other patients, so I was able to give these patients extra support. I am so lucky to have them.’

This year, the five finalists this year from scores of patients’ nominations, which include a teenager whose mental health key worker has supported her towards recovery.

A university student has nominated the nurse who supported her through her cancer diagnosis and treatment, and a group of men have put forward their practice nurse for helping to secure a place for them to go where they can share experiences and enjoy meaningful activities.

The fifth patient describes how her practice nurse has helped her to overcome the mental and physical scars from a car accident and have a ‘normal life’.

RCNi editorial director Graham Scott and Patients Association chief executive Rachel Power shortlisted the five finalists.

Mr Scott said: ‘There are thousands of nurses changing lives with the outstanding care that they give to people of all ages, from every walk of life.

‘These five inspirational nurses might all say that they are just doing their job but the impact they have made on their patients is enormous, and all have gone the extra mile to make a difference to people at the most difficult time of their lives.

‘We hope the public will show us who they think deserves to win by taking part in the vote.

Rachel Power says: ‘It was incredibly heart-warming to read patients’ accounts describing how nurses have gone above and beyond the call of duty, and it was challenging to shortlist just five nurses for these prestigious awards.

‘We know from the calls to our helpline just how much patients appreciate high-quality care, so it’s fantastic to be involved in these awards to recognise nursing at its best.

‘The commitment, care and dedication of these nurses to their patients is without question – it’s now up to the public to make the difficult choice and decide who should be the winner.’

Voting closes at midnight 14 June. Vote at https://rcni.com/patients-choice-vote