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National award nominations for Northumbria nurses Kirsty and Emily

Friday, 20 July, 2018
National award nominations for Northumbria nurses Kirsty and Emily

Two nurses at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust are in the running for prestigious national awards for their work in Northumberland and overseas.

Kirsty McVay, a theatre nurse at The Northumbria hospital, and Emily Pitkethly, who works in the elderly assessment and ambulatory care unit at Hexham General Hospital, are shortlisted in the Nursing Times Awards 2018.

Kirsty is nominated for the ‘nurse of the year’ award for her selfless work in Tanzania and Emily is in the running for the ‘rising star’ award for progressing her career while helping more elderly people to receive their care closer to home.

Earlier this year, Kirsty took unpaid leave from her job to volunteer at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s partner hospital Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC). For three months, Kirsty worked as part of the surgery team, developing the nurses’ skills for theatres, and specifically laparoscopic – key-hole – surgery.

It was during this work that Kirsty went above and beyond the call of duty by giving her own blood mid-procedure to save the life of a young boy when stocks of his rare blood type were more than an hour’s drive away.

For almost 20 years, the trust’s volunteer teams have supported staff at KCMC as part of a pioneering international link and helped them introduce laparoscopic – key-hole – surgery as a new service for Tanzania. Kirsty had visited KCMC twice previously before this year’s extended stay.

Kirsty, from Tynemouth, said: “Working overseas presents a whole raft of challenges not faced in the NHS including intermittent electricity and limited equipment so I really needed to think on my feet and apply my nurse training and experience to adapt.

“To spend time in a completely different health setting and see the nurses grow in confidence from the training I delivered was fantastic and I’m humbled that my actions there have led me to be nominated for an award.

“I loved every minute of my time in Tanzania and learnt an enormous amount – knowledge that helps me every day in my role at The Northumbria.”

Emily qualified as a nurse in March 2014 and has developed at Hexham General Hospital. Starting her career with Northumbria in the hospital’s urgent care centre, Emily moved to work in the elderly assessment and ambulatory care unit which assesses and treats frail older people who have complex care needs.

Emily has trained to be a nurse practitioner and non-medical prescriber and now leads the unit’s nursing team. She is also studying for a master’s degree, specialising in elderly care.

Emily, from Corbridge, said: “I’m really proud to be shortlisted for this award and would like to thank my colleagues for all the support they’ve given me to help me develop and progress, and the trust for the opportunities.

“It makes such a difference to elderly people, and their families, to be able to have as much care as possible locally and I’m passionate about helping to make this happen for as many patients as we can in the Hexham area.”

This nomination for Emily comes four years after she received the trust’s student nurse of the year award for her ‘knowledge, confidence and professionalism’.

Ellie Monkhouse, executive director of nursing and midwifery at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “I’m delighted that Kirsty and Emily have been nominated for these awards which demonstrate the high quality of nursing talent we have here at Northumbria.

“Kirsty has taken the values of the trust to Tanzania and made it work. She is a committed, caring individual who goes out of her way to support her colleagues and patients and is a credit to our trust.

“Emily has shown great commitment to the nursing profession to progress her career so rapidly. Her dedication to helping more patients receive care closer to home is clear to see and we’re pleased to have her in our trust.

“I’d like to wish them the best of luck for the awards.”

The awards take place on 31 October in London.