Awards ceremony recognises 'Shining Lights' at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
A pair of dedicated nurses, who make the ward in which they work ‘a better place’, have been crowned the winners of this year’s Bury Free Press Patient Choice Award.
Ward sisters Joana ‘Jo’ Ribeiro and Ana da Silva, who both work on the G5 ward at the hospital, were nominated for the Shining Light Award by an anonymous patient who said they had made ‘the difference’ to their recovery.
“They have both gone out of their way to be reassuring to me, to listen to me when I was afraid. Because of these two members of staff, I have not given up,” said their nominator.
“The ward is a better place for them being there. They both are real examples of a shining light in the service.”
Winners across 16 categories were announced on Wednesday at West Suffolk Hospital’s annual Shining Lights Awards, which see staff and volunteers recognised for the work they do each day.
Both Jo and Ana were unable to attend the ceremony due to being on annual leave.
Jo, who qualified as a nurse 10 years ago, said the award was ‘extra special’ because it had come from a patient.
“I was very surprised to be nominated because obviously it comes from someone outside the hospital so I’m very lucky,” she said. “I’m very happy because I feel it is recognition for all the work I’ve done throughout my career.”
And for Jo, who moved to Bury St Edmunds from her home in Portugal four years ago, her decision to work at West Suffolk Hospital is one she wouldn’t change.
“There is a family environment in this hospital and so everybody knows everybody,” she said. “That makes it a particularly good place to learn and to practice.”
Despite a litany of daily duties including providing nursing care, managing and co-ordinating the ward, and monitoring the work of other nurses, it is the education side of the job and mentoring trainees that is Jo’s favourite.
“I feel that it is something I’m very comfortable doing and it is very rewarding,” she said.
“When you have someone starting out, it is great to follow them over the time and see in the end how much they have achieved and gained from it.”
Children’s respiratory consultant Dr Melanie Iles and the ward F9 team were this year’s runners-up in the patients’ choice category.
Dr Iles, 50, who was nominated by a 10-year-old patient for whom she went ‘above and beyond’, said she was ‘delighted’ to have been in the running.
“I was really surprised and what makes it even better is that it’s such a young patient who has nominated me,” she said. “It’s the biggest privilege there could be.”
The Ward F9 team was nominated for its support and kindness during a family’s ‘harrowing time’.
Other winners included clinical practice facilitator Ali Devlin, who was named Employee of the Year at the trust. She was nominated by her team for her work to make overseas nurses feel welcome and at home.
‘Treasured’ housekeeper Margaret Bird was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award after her 46 years working at the hospital.
Dr Vivek Rajagopal was the recipient of the Inspiring Leadership Award. Tasked with managing care throughout the busy winter months, Dr Rajagopal was recognised by colleagues for his ability to ‘prioritise tasks calmly’ and ‘ensure patient safety’ while ‘picking up a lot of the frontline work himself’.
West Suffolk Hospital’s electronic records scanning team picked up the Non-clinical Team of the Year Award, having worked ‘tirelessly’ to turn all paper patient records into electronic versions.
In the last year, the team has scanned more than five million pages, all the while ensuring that each document was indexed, prepped, scanned and quality-checked.
The West Suffolk Lymphoedema Service Team was crowned the winner of the Clinical Team of the Year Award after receiving positive feedback from patients.
Emergency Department educator Georgie Brown bagged the Outstanding Contribution to Education Award for her ability to use any experience or challenge she is faced with as an opportunity to teach others.
The Bloomfield ‘Living Our Values’ Award was presented to Marilou Franco and the Filipino community for their work to help nurses coming into the trust from the Philippines settle in to the local area.
Surgical appliances supervisor Wayne Smith won the Service Improvement Award for his efforts to make financial savings into the tens of thousands for the trust while still providing a quality service.
Robyn Hobden, clinical systems coach, was presented with the Innovation Award in recognition of her work to support the MMODAL voice recognition project.
Business support administrator Melanie Henry who, according to colleagues in the Newmarket Community Team ‘makes work a bright and happy place to be’, won the award for Outstanding Contribution in a Non-Clinical Area.
Radiographer Natalie Hulyer bagged the Outstanding Contribution to Quality of Care Award for her ‘impressive’ organisational skills and high standards of care.
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award went to Raleigh Ball, who is a founding and active member of the trust’s LGBT+ network.
He also provides support to staff who have experienced bullying, harassment or discrimination as well as advice to anyone seeking to foster good relations with LGBT+ people.
Sarah Dance is this year’s Rising Star Award-winner, with her inventive approach to gardening having made a big impression in the year she has worked at the hospital.
The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Derek Blackman for his work greeting patients and helping staff in the Clinical Decision Unit.
Last but not least, the Cardiac Diagnostic Team took the title of My WiSH Charity Champion for its support during the Every Heart Matters Appeal.
The team even hosted its own fund-raising events which brought in more than £1,000.