A local nurse has been named the Northern Ireland ‘Nurse of the Year’.
Pauline Casey, from outside Claudy, was presented with the Royal College of Nurses award at Hillsborough Castle last week.
The awards celebrate their 20th anniversary this year and on the night Pauline had the opporunity to meet the first ‘Nurse of the Year’ Maeve McGinley who was also employed by the Western Trust.
Pauline is the lead nurse for older people’s mental health at the Western Health and Social Care Trust.
She fought off competition from three other finalists to receive the award for leading a challenging redesign of services to ensure that people with dementia are assessed and treated in a dementia-designed unit or in their own homes and communities.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ Pauline, who has been a nurse for 31 years, said she was ‘delighted and overwhelmed’ to receive the award.
‘It was a total surprise to be nominated by the award, never mind win it’.
Pauline is ‘particularly delighted’ that a mental health nurse has won the prestigious accolade.
The RCN judging panel was impressed by Pauline’s leadership and how she demonstrated that nurses can lead the way in enhancing patient care and implementing the Transforming your Care reform process to ensure that patients are cared for, where appropriate, in their own homes and communities rather than in hospitals.
Commenting on the Awards, RCN Northern Ireland Director Janice Smyth said: ‘Older people are among the most vulnerable in society, particularly those with dementia. Pauline Casey has made an outstanding contribution to improving care for these patients.
‘This is the twentieth year of the Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Awards which have highlighted some of the best examples of nursing practice.
‘Despite the challenges nursing and the wider health service has faced in recent times, it is important to recognise and value the excellent care nurses provide to the people of Northern Ireland.’
Gerard Guckian, chairman of the Western Trust said:‘Pauline is a first class nurse and driven head of service with a passion for improving dementia care. We in the Western Trust are immensely proud of Pauline and this tremendous accolade is so well deserved. We are fortunate to have her working within the Trust leading, developing and improving services for our patients and clients.’