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RCN Wales honours PhD Student Nicola West

29 November 2012

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Huge congratulations to current PhD student Nicola West, who won the Clinical Nurse Specialist Award at last night's inaugural RCN Wales Nurse of the Year Awards, and Louise Poley, a former Cardiff MSc student who won Nurse of the Year.   

RCN Wales held their first ever Nurse of the Year Awards event at City Hall in Cardiff last night, to celebrate those nurses who make a significant contribution to both patient care and the nursing profession. Christine Thomas, chair of the RCN Welsh Board, described the event as a chance to highlight the value of nursing, and honour best practice within the nursing community.

Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery studies was delighted that Nicola West, a current PhD student and consultant nurse in breast care for Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, was nominated for both a Clinical Nurse Specialist Award and for Nurse of the Year. Dean and Head of School Professor Sheila Hunt, Deputy Head of School Dr Dianne Watkins and RCN Professor of Nursing Daniel Kelly were all at the awards last night to see Nicola win her category, as well as come runner up for the Overall Nurse of the Year Award.

Nicola has driven breast care in Cardiff since she set up the service in 1991. She has led it to become the exemplar service it is today, her expertise widely valued and recognised via calls to contribute to All Wales policy development. Nikki runs her clinics independently, able to discharge patients and prescribe medication.

Currently a part-time PhD student with Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Nikki is looking at the experiences of women who have undergone breast cancer risk reducing surgery. She has published a chapter on breast reconstruction, an article on breast awareness and an educational preoperative case study for pre-registration nurses.

The RCN Wales Awards judging panel described Nikki’s ‘excellent contribution to extending the nursing role, working alongside medical colleagues. Her role demonstrates how the teaching role is of benefit to other nurses and to nursing’.

Congratulations to Nikki on winning her category, and for being runner up in the Overall Nurse of the Year Award.

Overall Nurse of the Year was awarded to Louise Poley, who also works for Cardiff & Vale University Health Board as consultant nurse for substance misuse. Louise holds an honorary contract with the School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, and graduated from her MSc in Nursing at Cardiff in 2010.

The judging panel described Louise as a ‘champion in her field’, having led a multi-agency project to offer services to the homeless within their own environment, ensuring they receive professional and timely health care.

Professor Sheila Hunt, Dean of the School, said how delighted she was for both winners. “Louise and Nicola are both brilliant and dedicated nurses who have made a real difference to the lives of their patients, and I am delighted that their hard work has been recognised at such a prestigious event. We are honoured that nurses capable of such achievements have studied here and have shared their expertise with Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies.”