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Left to right: Claire Aston, Joan Myers, Tessa Fitzpatrick
Claire Aston is Senior Strategic Programme Manager and Head of Complex Care for the Aneurin Bevan Health Board in Wales. Claire has 29 years’ experience in nursing, including clinical, operational, management and strategic roles. Locally, she has developed a dedicated nursing team to manage patients with complex conditions at home, supported by an innovative team that crosses health and social care boundaries to support the community nurses. This has improved standards of care and reduced reliance on agency staff. Claire has also established a nurse-led dermatology team, and rehabilitation and chronic conditions teams to fill gaps in services. Claire is also a Dignity Champion for her organisation, and ensures that dignity is at the heart of care delivery. At national level, Claire has been seconded to the Welsh Government to lead the national dermatology improvement programme. She proactively advocates equality, human rights, choice and anti-discriminatory practice in everyday practice, areas of service development and strategic implementation. Through her national roles, Claire’s drive, unwavering enthusiasm and commitment to enhancing the patient’s experience through the complex care framework, is ensuring that this is embedded in national policy directives. Her nominator said: “Claire’s negotiation skills, ability to manage conflict and acquire excellent results for patients are exceptional. Claire is an outstanding nurse leader.”
Joan Myers is Nurse Consultant – Community Children’s Nursing, Whittington Health, London. Joan qualified as a paediatric nurse at Guy’s Hospital, London, before moving into community nursing. She developed the paediatric home care teams in Camberwell and West Lambeth, and became team coordinator for Westminister Community Children’s Nursing Team.. As a nurse consultant in Islington, Joan set up and runs a nurse-led eczema service, leading a team of 35 specialist nurses, nursery nurses and support workers. She has also created an asthma nurse post and an allergy nurse specialist post, and runs educational sessions for parents and church groups, all resulting in fewer children needing to visit GPs or be referred to hospital services. Joan supports and mentors health visitors and community children’s nurses. She is in process of setting up a blood sampling clinic based at health centres, to reduce the need for children to go to hospital to have blood samples taken. In addition to her local role, Joan is an honorary lecturer at South Bank University, and was an expert panel member of Healthcare for London’s community and primary care services as well as the Darzi children’s clinical pathway group. She recently completed a 2 year secondment to the Department of Health as Professional Officer for Diversity advising the Chief Nursing Officer. She has also set up a feeding programme in Kenya to feed 25 homeless children, and is currently trying to establish a children’s home in Kenya. Joan’s nominator said: “I believe Joan is an outstanding role model that exemplifies dedication and excellence in nursing care and a highly valuable asset to our current day NHS.”
Tessa Fitzpatrick is a Macmillan Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, Stockton on Tees. Tessa is one of longest-serving lung cancer nurse specialists in the country. She established the Macmillan North Tees Lung Cancer nursing service 14 years ago with the aim of supporting patients, whose prognosis is particularly poor, and their families from diagnosis to end of life and through bereavement. She designed a service that covered both hospital and community settings, so that patients would have continuity of care wherever they went. She also introduced a support group for patients with lung cancer, and one for patients with mesothelioma, and chairs a user group which helps to drive improvements for patients at the Trust. In addition to her daily work, Tessa teaches at the local hospice and University, and has co-founded the North East Lung Cancer Nurses Group and the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses, providing encouragement and motivation for the nurse members. She speaks at local and national conferences, and uses her knowledge, experience and skills to support not only nurses, but members of other health and social care professions. Tessa’s nominator said: “Her approach to work goes far beyond the level which would ordinarily be expected from her role and it is this which makes Tessa so outstanding and truly inspirational.”