A nurse from Enniskillen has been awarded the first “cross border” award for nursing in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Marie-Therese McDermott, a ward sister at the South West Acute Hospital, part of the Western Health and Social Care Trust, has received the inaugural award for Excellence in Cross Border Nursing.
“Marie-Therese is a truly worthy recipient of this inaugural cross border nursing award”
The new award from the chief nursing officers of the two countries recognises innovation and excellence in patient care within the border region or on an all-island basis.
It was presented at the first ever All Ireland Chief Nursing Officers’ Conference on 1 December in Dublin Castle.
As well as the award itself, Ms McDermot received a £1,000 training bursary from the cross border health services partnership Co-operation and Working Together.
The partnership comprises the border counties of the Health Service Executive in Ireland and the Southern and Western Health and Social Care Trusts, the Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.
“This conference brings together nursing colleagues from right across the island of Ireland with the aim of working collaboratively”
Presenting the award on behalf of the partnership, Bridget Clarke, from Ireland’s HSE, said: “Marie-Therese is a truly worthy recipient of this inaugural cross border nursing award.
“She has been instrumental in enabling cross border acute hospital services, particularly in the area of vascular services, by ensuring that patients from both sides of the border receive the best care possible from her team of nursing staff,” she said.
“In these difficult times within our health services, it is people like Marie-Therese who make all the difference by motivating, inspiring and reminding others that delivering patient care is indeed a worthwhile and rewarding profession,” she added.
Unison Northern Ireland head of bargaining Anne Speed, who attended the conference, said Ms McDermott was “a credit to the nursing profession”.
“All of Unison is very proud of our member on receiving this prestigious award and we wish her all the very best,” she said.
The conference was jointly hosted by Dr Siobhan O’Halloran, chief nursing officer at the Irish Department of Health, and Charlotte McArdle, chief nursing officer for Northern Ireland.
The theme of the conference was Leading through collaboration – an all-Ireland celebration of nursing and midwifery.
Dr O’Halloran described the conference as “a truly memorable occasion”.
“This conference brings together nursing colleagues from right across the island of Ireland with the aim of working collaboratively and continuing to learn from each other’s experience and practice,” she said.
Irish health minister Kathleen Lynch, who spoke at the conference, paid tribute to nurses and midwives for their historic and continuing contribution to the development of the health services on the island.
“I myself have benefitted from the wonderful care of nurses a number of times over the last couple of years and I am happy to say that you would go far to beat the standard of care offered on this island,” she said.