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York nurses awarded by the Queen's Nursing Institute

10 January 2024

Two York nurses received a great start to the New Year after being awarded for their innovative nursing project.

Geraldine Rook and Stefanie Barnish, who collectively have almost 70 years of experience working in the NHS, collected their award at the annual Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) awards ceremony, held at the Friends House in London.

The pair attended the formal QNI award ceremony to receive certificates from Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, QNI Vice President and Patron of the Mary Seacole Trust.

Geraldine and Stefanie posing onstage alongside Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu

They received their awards in the Community Nursing Innovation Programme category after being put forward for improving continence outcomes for residents in The Chocolate Works Care Village – a private care home in York.

Geraldine, Specialist Practitioner District Nurse and Project Support in Community Services, and Stefanie, Bladder and Bowel Specialist Nurse, provided support and education to both carers and residents.

They worked closely with 20-plus residents to improve their quality of life and to see if they could reduce product use, where possible.  The project was supported by York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Queen’s Nursing Institute. They were put forward for the Burdett Award for this and other projects undertaken, of which they were finalists.

Stefanie reviewed all residents’ care plans and medications and created toileting regimes for residents.  They also introduced a screening tool and identified a continence champion in the home so their work could be continued.

Geraldine, who started her career working in the former city hospital in York in 1984, said her job is a privilege as she has a passion for community nursing.  Geraldine graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2008 and believes she makes a difference for patients.

Commenting on the day, Geraldine explained: “I entered nursing by an unusual route, taking various courses and the conversion route before graduating.  But it has been an ideal occupation as I’ve been able to work my way up whilst raising a family. Our award was a great achievement and would not have been possible without the whole team's support. 

"Carers have learned a lot.  The message is loud and clear, we need to educate, educate, and educate to get the message across that continence issues can always be improved.  We felt we have achieved a great outcome for such a big issue and of course, we are very proud.”

Stefanie qualified in 1992 at the York School of Nursing.  She entered the profession after stints abroad in Germany and at RAF Northolt where her husband served. She started working for the NHS at Mount Vernon Hospital in Middlesex and started working as a nurse in York once her family relocated to the area in 1997.

Stefanie explained she has always had an interest in urology throughout her career.

“During the time we spent on the project one patient became completely mobile and was able to go to the toilet herself.  We try our hardest to motivate patients.  So, it’s great to get the message out to as many people as possible.

“While it can be an embarrassing topic to talk about, once out in the open, patient outcomes can be made better,” she said.

Tara Filby, Deputy Chief Nurse, at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust shared her praise for their awards.  She said: “We are so delighted that two of the Trust’s nurses have had their hard work and achievements recognised by receiving the Queen’s Nurse awards.

“Both nurses are highly competent and passionate professionals, which the Queen’s Nurse award demonstrates.  They are an asset to Trust, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank them for their dedication and compassion to our patients.”

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Looking down a long bright hospital corridor with treatment rooms on the left and windows on the right. At the bottom of the corridor is one member of staff in a blue nursing uniform

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