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Improvements in clinical and medical treatment and care means increasing numbers of patients that are living with long-term conditions. While these advances are to be welcomed, it is important to recognise that they increase demand on healthcare services. This prestigious award seeks to reward nurses whose work is reducing the burden on the health service by preventing ill-health and/or offering truly holistic care to patients who have long-term conditions or complex needs.

The award seeks to identify those nurses from the community or hospital sector who have joined forces with other organisations, such as those from the voluntary and/or third sector, to help promote public health and prevent disease and/or manage long-term conditions in a holistic and integrated way that improves patients’ quality of life and independence.

Examples might include initiatives to:

  • Help prevent diseases, such as type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy eating and exercise to avoid obesity;
  • Use evidence-based complementary therapies to support conventional healthcare approaches in treating the whole patient;
  • Use nursing (and the wider multidisciplinary team) to improve patients’ mental and physical health and wellbeing, rather than simply treating their presenting disease or condition;
  • Harness the power of volunteers to empower patients and service users;
  • Manage long-term conditions in an integrated way that is led by patients’ needs with a possible reduction on pharmacological dependence by using evidence-based complementary approaches in support of conventional care

Enter Award for Integrated Approaches to Care

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The nature of cancer care is changing as new treatments improve survival rates; in addition to the people receiving active treatment, a growing number are surviving the disease but living with its consequences. However, cancer remains a devastating disease and patients need both skilled clinical care and intensive support. Nurses are the linchpin of the multidisciplinary cancer care team, able to coordinate care and ensure patients move swiftly along the pathway to receive timely diagnosis and treatment. They are also the professionals patients are likely to turn to for emotional and practical support, and need to be able to offer this in a compassionate manner and adapt it to individual patients’ needs. Entrants to this award can be individuals or teams from the NHS or independent sector. They should be able to demonstrate performance that has contributed to a significant improvement in the quality of cancer care. Examples might include initiatives to:

  • Streamline care pathways to reduce waiting times for diagnosis or treatment
  • Extend the scope of nursing practice in order to improve patient care
  • Address practical issues faced by patients living with cancer or its consequences

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

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As life expectancy increases so does the number of older people with complex healthcare needs. These patients come into virtually all healthcare settings and the vast majority of nurses will be involved in caring for them at some time.

A number of high-profile cases in recent years have revealed distressing stories about older people's experiences of healthcare. This award seeks to show the other story by highlighting the excellent care that is often ignored. It is open to individual nurses or teams working in any setting in the NHS or independent sector who have developed initiatives specifically to ensure older people receive the best possible care or retain their health and independence. Examples might include initiatives to:

  • Enable older people to live independently at home for as long as possible
  • Improve the experience of older people in residential and care homes
  • Improve the care offered to older people in the hospital setting

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

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Health and wellbeing in the early years of life has an impact on health in adulthood so the delivery of high-quality care is crucial through birth to the teenage years. Nurses working in these specialties provide care in partnership with families and need to be able to develop trusting relationships. They also act as advocates for their patients and become trusted carers for children with long-term conditions, seeing them grow up, learn to take control of their own health and move on to adult services.

This award is for NHS or independent sector nurses working with children from neonates to adolescents in any care setting. It will be awarded to a team or individual whose work with this group shows innovation and real evidence of a family-centred approach or a commitment to empowering adolescents or ensuring they receive age appropriate care. Examples might include initiatives to:

  • Help the parents of neonates in intensive care to be involved in their baby's care
  • Reduce anxiety of children awaiting surgery
  • Help adolescents with long-term conditions to take responsibility for managing their own health

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

Clinical research nursing is a relatively new, but rapidly growing, specialty that acknowledges nurses’ expanding role in clinical research. Once seen as junior members of the research team, largely managed by medics, nurses are increasingly taking leading roles in major studies, working autonomously. Today trusts have teams of research nurses, many in permanent posts and, with support and funding from the National Institute for Health Research, these nurses have both professional development and career progression. Entrants to this award can be individuals or teams from the NHS or independent sector.

This award aims to increase wider understanding of clinical research nursing and recognise initiatives that contribute to achieving the NIHR’s strategic priorities for the specialty, which are to:

  • Enhance the experience of patients participating in clinical research, for example by improving access to studies and expanding the breadth of disease specialties or service areas engaged in research or increasing patient and public engagement;
  • Improve standards of research delivery and practice, for example by ensuring CRNs have clear supervision and lines of accountability, and access to professional development, or by embedding the principles of Compassion in Practice into clinical research;
  • Improve awareness of the specialty and its contribution, for example by raising its profile among the wider healthcare team, or demonstrating how clinical research leads to improved care, practice and skills.

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Bowel and bladder problems can have a devastating effect on dignity and quality of life, both for patients who are dependent on others due to physical or mental disability, and for those who are otherwise independent.

This category rewards initiatives and innovations that promote continence, increase the effectiveness of care and improve the quality of life of people with these problems. It is open to individual nurses or teams working in hospital, the community - including nursing and residential homes - and those working in specialist continence services.

Entries can be from individuals or teams from the NHS or independent sector who must be able to demonstrate how a change in practice has resulted in clear improvements in patients' or clients' continence, or enhancement of their dignity through interventions that minimise the impact of continence problems. Examples might include initiatives to:

  • Increase awareness of continence care and promotion services to groups at risk of continence problems
  • Improve access to continence services and aids
  • Streamline the care pathway for people presenting with continence problems

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

Nurses working in emergency and critical care deal with patients every day whose very survival depends on their skills and abilities. These nurses need high levels of expertise, the ability to think and act quickly in a crisis, and excellent communication skills to gain the trust of people in extreme situations.

Entrants to this award can be individuals or teams from the NHS or independent sector. They should be able to demonstrate performance that has contributed to a significant improvement in the quality of patient care in emergency or critical care settings. Examples might include initiatives to:

  • Set up services to cater for specific patient groups or injuries
  • Improve the experiences of patients in the critical care setting
  • Improve collaboration between emergency or critical settings and other areas of care

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

Healthcare is about more than simply curing or managing conditions. It is also about maximising patients' dignity through the delivery of compassionate care. As the professionals with the most direct patient contact it is nurses who have the greatest ability to protect and promote their patients' dignity.

This award recognises initiatives addressing aspects of care that compromise patient dignity or ensure healthcare interventions do not unnecessarily compromise patients' privacy, independence or individuality. Examples might include initiatives to:

  • Improve staff awareness of patient privacy
  • Involve patients and families in projects to improve protection of patient dignity
  • Engage staff in a zero-tolerance approach to care that lacks compassion

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

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Promoting the health and wellness of the nursing workforce is essential to the long-term success of any healthcare provider. By reducing absenteeism and ensuring there is consistency in staffing levels and continuity of care, and ensuring staff are well-motivated and fit to practise, a health and wellbeing policy at work can improve overall standards of care. This award will recognise innovative projects to improve the health and emotional and physical wellbeing of the nursing workforce or wider staff groups. These projects might be across an entire organisation or more locally in individual wards, units or practices, and entries can be from trusts, independent healthcare providers and/or individual wards, units or practice. Examples might include initiatives to:

  • Help staff to increase their participation in exercise
  • Support staff experiencing stress or emotional difficulties
  • Offer lifestyle interventions to promote staff wellbeing

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

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Infection prevention and control remains a major challenge in healthcare. Nurses at all levels and in all specialties and environments are involved in developing initiatives aimed at preventing or minimising the spread of infection. This category aims to recognise initiatives that take an innovative approach to this important area of practice. It is open to general or infection prevention and control specialist nurses working in acute or community settings in the NHS or independent sector.

Entrants should have implemented an initiative to improve practice within their immediate area or more widely across their organisation or community. They should be able to demonstrate clear outcomes be able to demonstrate that their initiative has changed practice or procedures and reduced risks to patients. Examples might include initiatives to:

  • Increase staff awareness of and compliance with infection prevention and control procedures
  • Involve patients and visitors in improving infection prevention and control
  • Reduce patients' risk of infection in community settings

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

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People with learning disabilities are among the most vulnerable and excluded in society. Learning disabilities nurses have a unique role in supporting their clients to achieve their full potential and in breaking down barriers their clients may encounter that prevent them from participating in society.

This category aims to recognise initiatives that take an innovative approach to this important area of practice. It is open to individual learning disability nurses or teams, working in acute or community settings in the NHS or independent sector. Entrants should be able to demonstrate the benefits of their work in terms of improved quality of life or increased independence of their patient or client group. Examples might include initiatives to:

  • Promote participation in community activities for people with learning disabilities
  • Ensure people with learning disabilities receive equality within the health system
  • Promote opportunities for people with learning disabilities to participate in service design

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

Nurses working in primary and community settings need to be able to work independently, often in less than ideal settings and without access to the levels of support and equipment hospital nurses take for granted.

Entries for this category can be from individuals or teams in the NHS or independent sector and from any primary or community care setting. Entrants must have undertaken an initiative that has improved patient care or the effectiveness of their service and has outcomes to demonstrate this. Examples might include initiatives to:

  • Increase the scope of nursing within a GP practice
  • Extend the boundaries of care offered to patients in their own homes
  • Increase the uptake of services by hard-to-reach groups

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

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People with mental health problems need therapeutic interventions that increase their independence and/or empower them to manage their condition and recognise triggers that may result in relapse or exacerbation. Their intensive involvement with this group means mental health nurses make a huge contribution to the care of these patients and clients, whether in community or inpatient settings, working in general or specialist mental healthcare services.

This award recognises individuals or teams who have developed initiatives that have improved the delivery of mental healthcare. Entrants can be from NHS or independent organisations and from any care setting. Entrants should be able to demonstrate the benefits of their work in terms of improved quality of life or increased independence of their patient or client group. Examples might include initiatives to:

  • Enable hard-to-reach groups to access mental health services
  • Improve community-based care for people with severe and enduring mental health problems
  • Improve the mental health of people within the prison system

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

The findings of the Francis Report into failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust last year illustrated what happens when healthcare providers fail to see patient safety as a key priority. As the professionals with the greatest amount of patient contact, nurses play a vital role in ensuring patients’ safety at every stage in their care. This category is open to individuals or teams from the NHS or independent sector who have undertaken an initiative to address factors that place patients at risk and promote safety as an essential part of healthcare. Entrants should have clear outcomes demonstrating improvements in patient safety. Examples may include initiatives to:

  • Reduce the incidence of falls
  • Improve safety in the prescription and administration of medicines
  • Raising staff awareness of patient safety issues

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

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Respiratory conditions, whether acute or long-term, affect every aspect of patients' lives - both physically and psychologically. Respiratory nurses make a profound difference by helping patients to minimise the effects of their condition and to reduce their risk of complications and exacerbations.

This award recognises individual nurses or teams working in any setting who have improved the quality of care provided to patients with respiratory conditions. Examples may include initiatives to:

  • Improve patients' self-management skills
  • Increase patient concordance with treatment
  • Develop programmes to increase patients' physical functioning

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

High-quality healthcare is a team effort, involving collaboration between colleagues, often from different disciplines. This is particularly important in the development and implementation of initiatives to improve healthcare delivery.

This category recognises projects that demonstrate the value of teamwork and clearly show how an entire nursing or multidisciplinary team has contributed to development, implementation and ongoing delivery of an initiative to improve the quality of patient care or effectiveness of a service. Entrants must be able to demonstrate the input of different team members and/or collaboration between nurses and other professions and/or services.

Entries should include clear outcomes demonstrating the benefits of the initiative.

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This important Award will be judged by the Chief Nursing Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It aims to recognise an inspirational nurse who has made a significant positive impact on the nursing profession at a regional and national level, and possibly international level over a sustained period. We welcome nominations from colleagues and peers who wish to highlight a nurse from any part of the profession whom they believe merit this recognition. Please outline how the individual you are nominating meets the following criteria in the entry.

  • Evidence of achievement across career history, as opposed to being recognised for a one off project/activity
  • Evidence of the impact the candidate has made on the profession at regional and national (and international if applicable) level
  • Evidence that the candidate has gone above and beyond what would normally be expected in the roles they have had; why do they stand out as special?
  • Evidence of credibility and standing in the profession
  • Demonstration of the hurdles the candidate may have overcome
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Some nurses stand out from the moment they enter the profession. They are natural leaders whose motivation is to constantly improve the quality of their own practice and of the services they work in. Their caring natures ensure they will not only offer compassionate care themselves, but will demand it of those around them and raise concerns if it falls short. They have the capacity to develop essential nursing skills quickly, and the creativity to innovate and reshape services. Nurses like these will be a positive influence on the profession throughout their careers.

This award aims to recognise a nurse who has been qualified for less than five years, and demonstrates exceptional qualities that embody the best of nursing and the leadership skills to inspire others to follow their example. Candidates must be able to demonstrate that they have put one or more of the 6Cs (below) into practice through an initiative to improve patient care:

  • Care;
  • Compassion;
  • Competence;
  • Communication;
  • Courage;
  • Commitment.

We welcome entries from candidates themselves or nominations from those who wish to highlight a nurse from the NHS or independent sector whom they believe merit this recognition.

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One of the main conclusions to emerge from the public inquiry into failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust was that clinical leaders have a fundamental role in ensuring the quality of nursing practice and patient care. The best community team leaders, ward sisters and charge nurses lead by example, providing their team with an excellent role model, demonstrating compassion and a commitment to ensuring their ward or unit offers the highest quality and safest care possible. They are aware of their patients’ needs and firm advocates on their behalf, understand the importance of informing and reassuring patients and relatives, and have the skills to lead, manage and motivate a team that is committed to offering excellent and compassionate care to all patients.

This award aims to recognise an exceptional nurse leader who embodies these qualities. Any nurse, working in the community or in an acute environment who is leading a team of any size is eligible to apply. We welcome entries from candidates themselves or nominations from those who wish to highlight a leader from the NHS or independent sector who they believe merits this recognition.

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There are thousands of excellent nurses working in the NHS and independent sector. However, a select few stand out as truly exceptional. Nursing Times Nurse of the Year Award aims to recognise an individual who has gone above and beyond what is expected of them in their day-to-day role. Candidates can be at any stage in their nursing career, but should have undertaken a piece of work on their own initiative that has required inspiration, determination and creativity. The work must have had tangible positive outcomes, such as demonstrable improvements in patient care or in the effectiveness of service provision. We welcome entries from candidates themselves or nominations from those who wish to highlight a nurse from the NHS or independent sector who they believe merits this recognition.

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