A nurse who set up a project to create awareness of hepatitis C in Grantham is among the recipients of this year’s Mary Seacole awards.
Karen Murray, 46, who works at Lincoln County Hospital, was presented with a Mary Seacole development award by health minister Anne Milton at a ceremony held at Unison headquarters in London on Tuesday.
Ms Murray was one of six nurses, midwives and health visitors recognised for their contribution to black and ethnic minority (BME) communities with Mary Seacole leadership and development awards.
Other winning projects focused on diabetes care for Arabic, dementia services for BME patients, and improving postnatal care for black and Asian women (see below for full list of winners).
Ms Murray, who has a background in general nursing, mental health and has worked with prisoners with addictions, has set up a project to create awareness of hepatitis C with a focus on European Union immigration in her local area.
She said: “I am overwhelmed and flattered to have won the Mary Seacole award. Over the past few years we have had an influx of people moving here from other countries, especially Eastern Europe, where there may have been a lack of awareness of Hepatitis C.
“Hepatitis C is a silent killer and you may not develop liver disease for 20 years, so it is vital we find ways to get the message across. It is an under-studied area, so I am hoping to encourage other work nationally.
“I have set up focus groups and field work with frontline workers to find out how big the problem is, so we can develop work. By winning the award I have more doors open to me – I am able to dispel the myths around Hepatitis C and encourage equal access for all.”
The awards are jointly funded by the Department of Health and NHS Employers, who work in partnership with Unison, Unite, the Royal College of Nursing, and the Royal College of Midwives.
The winners of the two leadership awards receive a bursary of £12,500, and the four development award winners, £6,250, allowing them to undertake a year-long project to benefit the health needs of people from BME communities.
They were created in 1994 in honour of Mary Seacole, who made a major contribution to nursing in the 19th century – famously caring for wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ms Milton said: “150 years after Mary Seacole made her contribution to nursing, today we witness the same courage, dedication and compassion in the profession.
“The nurses we are recognising today have shown that same dedication, sometimes courage, but always compassion.”
2011 Mary Seacole Leadership Award Winners:
Project: Improving the postnatal care and experience for black and Asian women by exploring cultural competency and capabilities of health care workers at Newham hospital
Project: Recovery and community hope – open, understanding and tactful reach out project
2011 Mary Seacole Development Award Winners:
Project: Increase accessibility and improve health outcomes for Arabic population with type 2 diabetes in north Kensington through structured education
Project: Raising awareness of Milton Keynes dementia services with BME communities
Project: Applying Q methodological analysis to BP screening and management: the identification of subjective perceptions that influence blood pressure monitoring for young black Caribbean congregants
Project: Pilot study Hepatits C BME communities in a rural setting
The following are the 2010 winners who have successfully completed their projects and were presented with their award certificates at the ceremony on Tuesday.
Mary Seacole Leadership Awards:
Esther Craddock, Education & Training Adviser, South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
Project: “Enhancing the Mental Health Carers’ contribution to Healing”
Stacy Johnson, Lecturer, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy, University of Nottingham.
Project: “An exploration of critical issues for students from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups when developing access, recruitment and retention practices for all degree nursing education in the UK”
Mary Seacole Development Awards:
Sarah Bennett, Specialist midwife, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
Project: “An exploration of midwives’ experiences of caring for women seeking asylum”
Naomi Douglas, Children’s Centre Health Visitor, Community Health Oxfordshire.
Project: “Befriending Breastfeeding: a home based antenatal pilot for South Asian families”
Mylene Freires Advanced Nurse Practitioner for Venous Access, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
Project: “Development of a nurse-led Port-a-Cath insertion service for patients with sickle cell disease on red cell exchange programme”
Opal Greyson, Hepatitis Nurse Specialist, Bedford Hospital NHS Trust.
Project: “To improve access to Hepatitis C Testing for the Sub Asian Community in Bedford.”