RCN representatives of the year awards
The RCN representatives of the year awards, sponsored by Liverpool Victoria, acknowledge the range of work undertaken by representatives on behalf of members over the past year. Representatives are vital to the RCN and to all workplaces. There is an annual award for each type of representative - learning representative, safety representative and steward - to recognise excellence in each category. This year representative of the year awards were awarded to:
RCN Steward of the Year
Awarded to commemorate the hard work, dedication and outstanding commitment shown by the RCN’s steward representatives.
James Stewart Donnelly
James Stewart Donnelly, known as Stewart, has been an active RCN steward and safety representative in Ayrshire and Arran since 1986. His unique style ensures difficulties are often resolved, to everyone’s satisfaction, with a phone call or quick meeting.
Stewart has played a vital role in some significant transition programmes in the region. As staff side lead he helped assist staff and employers through a difficult service review programme which saw a number of service areas come under threat of closure. Throughout the process Stewart unstintingly gave his free time, ensuring staff were kept informed and presenting to patients and public at evening meetings. His lobbying efforts resulted in an independent ministerial review that successfully reversed the decision to close the A&E department at Ayr Hospital.
On becoming staff side lead for Agenda for Change (AfC) in the region, Stewart’s calm handling of the challenging situation that arose when Unison threatened to walk away from the agreement helped ensure the project continued with renewed vigour from NHS employers and all staff-side involvement. Stewart successfully helped to steer staff and employer organisations through the final two years of AfC implementation, overseeing grievances relating to AfC and championing for the right result for all staff.
While his high profile role in AfC at times made him a target for staff, his diplomacy and professionalism throughout ultimately led them to acknowledge that Stewart did a tremendous job of ensuring all difficulties were resolved.
As a result of his work on AfC Stewart was approached to co-chair the HR group in Ayrshire dealing with the transfer of private prison health care staff into the NHS, and to assist nationally with their transition onto AfC terms and conditions.
As staff side lead for Ayrshire and Arran’s attendance policy group his work has helped to improve the process for staff and reduce staff absences in the region on an ongoing basis.
RCN Safety Representative of the Year
Awarded to commemorate the hard work, dedication and outstanding commitment shown by the RCN’s safety representatives.
As the sole RCN Health and Safety representative at NHS Direct Milton Keynes, Jeannette regularly represents the interests of colleagues in talks with both their employer and the Health and Safety Executive.
Alongside advising colleagues and management on possible hazards and investigating complaints and dangerous incidents, she also assists with workplace risk assessments and caries out regular inspections with management-side teams.
Despite her full time role as a clinical development coach, Jeannette still finds time to update her own health and safety learning and development, and is always actively recruiting new RCN members. She also makes sure other members are up to date by tirelessly ensuring the noticeboard and health and safety toolkit are current, showing relevant practice and policies. The consistency and persistence of her commitment to the RCN is unwavering.
Jeannette has maintained a professional approach to her role, despite the current challenging work conditions at NHS Direct. In this environment, Jeannette works unstintingly to recruit and retain members, and encourage new members to tackle RCN representation roles. Her professional demeanour in her role as health and safety representative is widely acknowledged by her peers, while the management team recognise her proficiency and approach allows for an ideal working relationship.
RCN Learning Representative of the Year
Awarded to commemorate the hard work, dedication and outstanding commitment shown by the RCN’s learning representatives.
Nicholas gift for enthusing others with his passion for nursing and for the RCN makes him a truly inspirational figure.
A mental health nurse practitioner and a highly visible and active RCN learning representative, Nicholas is fervent about the value of learning and development and especially enjoys his one-to-one work with members – particularly when it comes to the pursuit of clinical and professional development for individuals.
Nicholas regularly runs interactive workshops within his workplace, and recently facilitated a highly successful and well attended workshop on the RCN’s Principles of Nursing Practice. He has also recently been invited to deliver a workshop on new innovations in care planning and delivery to local health care professionals, including consultant psychiatrists.
Highly respected by his trust and managers, Nicholas is often called upon to support members and is viewed as an excellent nursing and learning representative role model. Nicholas is passionate about encouraging reflection on the values-bases of nursing and activism and is also strongly committed to promoting workplace strategies that sustain the mental wellbeing of the nursing team. Nicholas also currently represents RCN learning representatives in the South East of England on the Union Learn Fund’s project steering committee.
Highly knowledgeable, and a confident mentor, Nicholas is continually striving to innovate in the ways he can support and develop RCN members and representatives. In 2010 he presented to RCN Congress on his experiences of the future activist programme, and was featured in an article in the June edition of Bulletin reflecting on his experiences as an activist. In January 2011, Nicholas kicked off the year by facilitating an interactive workshop on nursing standards and quality outcomes to local representatives at a patch activist day.