The Alexandra-sponsored RCN Awards Nurse of the Year 2021 has been announced, with a nurse who transformed her sexual health service and enabled women in Belfast to access early medical abortions named the winner.
Sexual health lead nurse Nicola Bailey, of Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, set her service up within days after lockdown limited women’s ability to travel to England. She achieved this despite political opposition and protests outside her clinic and while slashing waiting times for contraception and dealing with the pressures of the pandemic.
The award was announced by Alexandra’s Emma Moore during a live-streamed ceremony on 12th October hosted by TV presenter Kate Garraway and RCN general secretary Pat Cullen.
Nicola said: “I don’t feel I’ve done anything outside my role as a nurse – to put my patients at the heart of everything I do, use my Code as my guide and provide healthcare to women that need it, whatever it may be.
“This is amazing for me but also amazing for women’s sexual and reproductive health care in Northern Ireland.”
The ceremony was opened by Tina Graves, Alexandra’s senior director of commercial sales and business operations. Tina said: “During one of the most challenging periods the NHS has ever faced, nurses across the profession and right across the UK have gone above and beyond to care for those in need.
“Like the entire nation, we at Alexandra have been moved and humbled by the commitment and selfless dedication of the nursing profession during the Covid pandemic – commitment, dedication and care which was celebrated and recognised tonight.
“Tonight was all about recognising and sharing nursing excellence and the huge difference that nurses make to people’s lives every day. As well as being headline sponsor of the overall RCN Nursing Awards we have also sponsored the Patients’ Choice Award and have been truly moved and inspired by the work of all nominees.”