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Nurse of the Year winners 2022

Congratulations to all our winners and runners up at the 2022 RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Awards.

RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year 2022

Gary Rutherford
Founder and project development manager
ARC Fitness Ltd

Whilst working in acute psychiatric admission wards and as an addiction nurse therapist within the Western Health and Social Care Trust, Gary observed a gap in support services within the com munity. He set up the addiction recovery service (ARC Fitness), initially as an online sign-posting service. From the outset, demand was high. Gary further developed the service to provide education and support, consulting with service users using evidence-based practice to develop individual and family support programmes as well as community education and health promotion programmes.

Because of high demand, Gary made the tough decision to give up his post within the addiction service to focus on this work. ARC is now a highly reputable community-based not-for-profit organisation employing two full-time staff with a support team of 14 including mental health nurses, therapists, counsellors, personal trainers, and peer recovery coaches. Gary provides holistic person-centred care and ensures the service focuses on preventing further physical and emotional harm to individuals, families, and the wider comm unity.

Gary's nominator explains how he has developed a 'no shame' approach to addressing the stigma related to addiction and supporting individuals "often living chaotic lives on the periphery of society". Gary has helped a wide range of individuals and families struggling with substance abuse, run awareness campaigns, and held events to help change the conversation around addiction. He continues to train peer supporters and advocates.

ARC's patient-reported outcome measures show reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as evidence of positive social contacts between participants. Gary's nominator concludes: "He ensures this client group has a voice to shape services and uses his leadership skills to change and positively influence care delivery to this group".

Kathleen Robb Award for outstanding contribution to Nursing - Mary Hinds

Page last updated - 25/11/2023