A team of 55 practice nurses has scooped the top prize at a national nursing awards ceremony for a project that is hoping to reduce the rate of COPD emergency hospital admissions in South Wales.
The team, led by nurse COPD consultant Tracy Kirk (pictured on the left, with colleague Marilyn Griffiths), brought together nurses from 43 surgeries across the South Wales area. Each nurse received in-depth training, and was challenged to go back to their surgery and implement new ways of delivering COPD care - from diagnosis to the implementation of a post acute exacerbation review.
All 55 nurses involved in the Aneurin Bevan COPD Project were awarded the prestigious British Journal of Nursing 'Nurse of the Year' award for their dedication to making it such a success.
Ms Kirk said: 'All the nurses involved showed complete devotion and selfless dedication to their patients. It was enough to restore anyone's faith in nursing - they even came in to do training on their days off.
'We ask them to do much more thorough reviews of all their patients than is required by the QOF, and the training goes right back to basics of anatomy and physiology, before looking for specific patients that need to be brought in to be looked at. They were utterly committed to it.'
Previously, Ms Kirk has worked on several COPD projects in the north west of England. In one similar scheme, carried out in Blackburn, acute admissions were reduced by 50 per cent in just six months.
'We are hopeful that the outcomes in South Wales will blow our previous results out of the water,' she said.
Although the Nurse of the Year award is traditionally given to an individual, the project was such a success that the judges voted unanimously to recognise everyone involved.
Julie Smith, editor of the BJN and member of the judging panel, said: 'We didn't hesitate to break with tradition on this occasion, and reward the whole team. They have all worked tirelessly and selflessly to make a huge improvement in their local areas, and each one is thoroughly deserving of being called Nurse of the Year.'
The full results of the health board-funded project will be unveiled in June.