NURSES from across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have been recognised for their work helping to care for the health and wellbeing of people in the community.
A total of 27 nurses received the QNIS Community Award for Long Service at a special online ceremony, marking the dedication and “tremendous contribution” they bring to their roles.
Congratulating the nurses on behalf of NHSGGC and our partner Health and Social Care Partnerships, Leanne Connell, Interim Chief Nurse for East Dunbartonshire, said:
“It was pleasure to join this online service to recognise the unique contribution of this cohort of General Practice Nurses. Person-centred care is at the heart of everything that we do, and these nurses are very epitome of that ethos. Every day they deliver multi-generational care directly to the public and the work they do is critical to the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve.
“I would like to thank them for their work, and congratulate them for these long service awards.”
The awards are presented by the Queen’s Nursing Institute of Scotland, a charity promoting excellence in community nursing, to any registered nurse who has been working in the community for more than 21 years. Between them, the NHSGGC nurses have racked up a total of more than 700 years of practice nursing experience in the community, with seven of the nurses having served their communities for more than 30 years.
At the presentation, Dr Kerri Neylon, Deputy Medical Director for Primary Care at NHSGGC, said the event was an opportunity to recognise the skills and contribution of general practice nurses who work across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
She added: “At times, you are the glue that keeps the practice team together, but also the oil that keeps things going smoothly – being responsive to the needs within the team and to our patients.
“I don’t think we can adequately express how thankful we are to you for everything that you do.”
Dr Sarah Doyle, Deputy Nurse Director at QNIS, the awards were an important opportunity to “pause, to acknowledge and to celebrate the contribution you all make”.
“I know you have seen a lot of changes during the years you have been working in the community. It won’t always have been easy – but when things were tough you kept going. It is a real honour to be here with all this expertise in this virtual room.”
Lorna Kelly, Interim Director of Primary Care at NHSGGC, presented the awards. She said: “It is really important to mark the tremendous contribution you have all made and continue to make to families, often across several generations, and to practices.”
Current role: Interim General Practice Nursing Professional Lead/ GPN Transformation Lead/ Facilitator GCU Work-Based Advanced Clinical Skills and Innovative Practice Module
24 years in primary care
Susan Hunt only became a nurse because she envied her friends.
“They had left school the year before and were nurses,” she said. “They had the income and the social life. I was meant to study Biology, but instead I went to train at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.”
Susan, who has been in primary care for 24 years, started as an A&E Staff Nurse at the GRI, and has gone on to work in a number of roles throughout her career. She has also returned to study on a number of occasions to update her knowledge and skills.
More recently, Susan has turned her hand to helping develop the skills of the next generation.
“I initially did some sessions with the University of the West of Scotland to assist with Advanced Practice modules, and then became part of the GGC Advanced Practice team in conjunction with Glasgow Caledonian University where I deliver work-based learning, advanced skills and an innovative practice module for trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioners.”
About 18 month ago, Susan joined NHS GGC Primary Care Support as General Practice Nursing Transformation Lead, but soon found herself stepping up, and is still, Interim GPN Professional lead for primary care. She was very involved with the clinical set-up of the first COVID Assessment Centre in Barr Street in Glasgow.
Susan said; “It’s been so busy over the years. Work has been my social life and focus. I’ve always been a jack of all trades and, like most nurses, not a master of none but a master of many.”
Kathy Kenmuir, Primary Care Cell Co-lead for Public Health Scotland and the Scottish Government, said: “Susan has worked all her days, usually with multiple jobs, and this was no mean feat as she juggled a hectic family life with 3 boys. She has worked in hours, out of hours and all hours!
“Susan is a strong advocate of keeping things simple, sensible, straightforward and completely focused on the patient, which is so important in the current climate and especially when she set up the CACs. Another passion is education – she is an integral part of the advanced practice programme at GCU and NHSGGC.
“Susan’s dry sense of humour coupled with team spirit has made her a delight to work with in the Practice Nurse Support and Development Team.”
Commenting on her award, Susan said: “We as GPNs are traditionally known to patients as “their nurse” as we have been known to many throughout their and their families’ lives.
“Being honest I did not relish the thought of an awards event, mostly because I think it's my job. However, following the event I did feel a bit emotional, particularly when listening to the comments and actually hearing acknowledgement from others of the huge role we have. When it is vocalised, it seems an overwhelming amount.
“It also made me reflect on the many years of my own nursing career and reassured me that the fundamentals of nursing values – care, compassion, communication, commitment and competence – are still core and recognised and valued by so many.”
Current role: Senior Practice Nurse
21 years in primary care
Marie trained in the Victoria Infirmary as an Enrolled Nurse initially, then worked for more than 17 years in the attached Mansion House Unit. She started working in the Glasgow Emergency Medical Services (which became the Out of Hours Service) in 2000.
While working there Marie was asked by one of the GPs whom she had known from her training in the Mansion House Unit to become a Treatment Room Nurse in Waverley Park Medical Practice in Glasgow, and received training there. She stayed at the practice for six years until she moved on to The Ker practice as a Practice Nurse, where she completed her BSc in Adult Nursing. After six years there, Marie moved to the Ailsa Surgery in Kinning Park where she completed the Non Medical Prescribing Qualification.
Two years ago she moved to the Medical Centre, Neilston, and has since completed the Minor Illness and Triage course at Level 10.
Marie said: “Since moving into practice nursing, I have learned so much. As well as the formal qualifications I have earned, just working with so many patients over the years has been a huge education in itself. Hopefully my learning will continue in the years to come.”
Marie’s Practice Manager, Rosaleen Kelly, said: “Marie has been at our village medical practice in Neilston for only a couple of years but in that time has had a wonderful impact on our patients had the management of their health. She has brought fresh ideas with her that have rejuvenated bits of our practice, and has been a pleasure to work with.
“If her last two decades in the community have been anything like her last two years, she should be extremely proud of her achievements and we as a city should be very grateful to her outstanding service.”
Current role: General Practice Nurse
31 years in primary care
Dr E Laverty, from Gourock Medical Practice, made the following tribute:
“Rhona has endless energy and enthusiasm for her challenging job as a practice nurse. She is very capable and shoulders the responsibility of her job very well. She is extremely hard working and very kind hearted. She goes the extra mile for her patients and the practice on a daily basis. The patients and staff all very much value her experience and skills.
“Rhona has extensively volunteered over the many years she has worked as a nurse. This includes volunteer work with rally international, and three months in Namibia as a support worker and medic. During this time she helped deprived and troubled teenagers with building and conservation projects across Namibia. She helped one of our troubled teenage patients to get sponsorship with rally international which was transformative for him.
“She also went to the Amazon River in a converted tug boat called ‘Amazon Hope’ to volunteer her nursing talents for those indigenous tribes who are very isolated from medical care. And in another international endeavour, she and her husband raised money for a diabetic charity after her niece was diagnosed by doing a 460mile cycle from Saigon to Angkor Wat.
“Closer to home, Rhona also worked with the Simon community in Glasgow, helping run a drop-in meal service for homeless people in the city where she works.
“She never complains and is an excellent role model for us all. Rhona never shies away from a challenge and always pushes herself to the limit. She is non-judgmental and can identify with people from all walks of life hence her very successful career.”
Current role: Project Manager, University of Glasgow
23 years in primary care
I qualified as a Registered General Nursee in 1993 and have worked in general practice since 1998.
I work part-time and work as a Locum practice nurse in NHSGGC primary care. I’m also part of the nurse bank delivering COVID-19 vaccines in various community settings.
I completed a BSc Community Nursing degree in 2001 and followed that up with a Master of Primary Care degree in 2013.
I’m particularly interested in health inequalities and helped to set up a “football for homeless men” group with the kind help of Partick Thistle Charitable Trust whilst working with NHSGGC Community Pharmacists in the Pharmacy and Prescribing Support Unit (PPSU). I looked after the health of the players and referred on to the relevant primary or secondary care requirements such as a GP or Dentist in the Homeless Health Centre, Glasgow.
My other interests include expedition medicine, and I am responsible for nurse cover on the ‘Sport with a Purpose’, Orbis Expeditions in Malawi involving Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes. In 2018, we helped to launch Street Chef Malawi. This is a small, local initiative designed to get healthy locally grown food on to the streets of Malawi, where malnutrition remains a serious issue. We returned to Malawi in 2019 where we delivered a huge supply of running shoes for the very talented local Malawian runners.
I am due to visit Mongolia in June 2022 with the Scientific Exploration Society (SES) and will provide nurse cover and local healthcare.
ABOUT THE AWARDS
Nurses are out in all weathers serving the communities of Scotland, supporting people at home, in clinics, and in their own workplaces. Year after year community nurses keep going through changes and reorganisations, always putting patients first. And that is why the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland gives awards to those who have served 21 years or more in the community. The awards are for registered nurses who have worked in any nursing role in the community including, but not limited to, community mental health nursing, midwifery, health visiting, practice nursing, criminal justice nursing, occupational health nursing, district nursing, community hospital nursing, community nurse education and management.