The annual RCNi Nurse Awards are the UK’s most prestigious nursing accolades, recognising nurses who, every day, go above and beyond to save lives, provide outstanding care for patients and transform nursing for the better.
Scotland had a good night with several finalists and one overall winner.
Practice sister Sarah Everett from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde won the Patient's choice award for creating a haven for men facing social isolation. She has worked tirelessly to establish Men’s Shed Govan as a health and activity hub for isolated men. As well as activities such as gardening, darts and cooking, the Shed offers health checks and wellbeing advice in an informal setting. The project has changed lives, according to the men who nominated her.
Ms Everett says: ‘I'm so delighted to win such a prestigious award. I didn't expect it at all. It was such an honour to be nominated by a patient. It shocked me how many people voted for me.’
Men’s Shed member John Alexander, who nominated Ms Everett for the award, says: ‘When I retired two years ago, I didn't want to feel that there's nowhere to go other than the pub or bookies.
‘It would have been easy to ignore what many men in our community desperately needed, or to assume someone else would rise to the challenge. But Sarah did not.’
Ms Everett secured funding from the Queen's Nursing Institute Scotland and encouraged others to join.
‘It became obvious we needed dedicated premises, so Sarah liaised with council officials, pursuing all available options, before securing a derelict former children’s nursery building,’ says Mr Alexander.
The whole place needed painting, repairing and refurbishment, but driven by Ms Everett’s ‘can-do’ attitude and unwavering support, the men completely transformed the premises.
Mr Alexander says: ‘Sarah has relentlessly pursued this when no one else in the area thought it necessary. We have never known a practice nurse who has been so willing and able to go the extra mile for men like us. She dedicates hours navigating her way round red tape and has an infectious and vibrant enthusiasm, which is inspirational.
‘She motivates everyone involved to keep going, even when we have been dealt bitter blows. Her ability to lead and cajole is what has made the Shed possible.’
Ms Everett credits the relationship she built with the men as a practice nurse for what they have achieved together. ‘It is the foundation of the project,’ she says.
She started with five patients but it quickly grew to 15. Now more than 30 attend regularly. ‘They all gave so much time painting, doing the garden, cutting the grass,’ says Ms Everett. ‘They got it looking really good. It gives them a sense of worth as well as companionship.’
She is proud of the difference it has made. One thank-you card she received said: ‘I can’t thank you enough. I don’t think I would be here otherwise. I was so depressed.’
‘He is here every day it is open,’ says Ms Everett. ‘It has been very powerful. Before the Shed, that man went four months without seeing anyone.’
has won a public vote for one of nursing’s top accolades.
Dementia Nurse Consultant Yvonne Manson from Balhousie Care Group won the leadership award for her outstanding work to transform dementia care in Scotland. Yvonne created a care programme improving quality of life for 700+ residents in 25 care homes.On receiving the RCNi Leadership Award, Yvonne Manson said: “I’m lost for words, it means the world to have received an RCNi Award. I’m really passionate about care home nursing and I want people to know that you can achieve an excellent nursing career as a carer. I also want to show people the positive side to nursing, which is why I entered these awards.”