A specialist nurse from University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has received a national award for her exemplary work caring for patients with breathing problems.
Respiratory nurse specialist Maria Smith was named “rising star of 2016” by the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists.
The award recognises nurses who have provided “compassionate care over and beyond that usually undertaken in a respiratory nursing career”.
Ms Smith, who qualified in 2010 and has worked on a respiratory ward and as a research nurse, is currently part of the integrated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease team based at Southampton General Hospital.
Her role includes providing clinical care and education for patients admitted due to an intensification in their symptoms, and supporting their discharge from hospital.
The integrated team oversees packages of care for any patient admitted with a past history of COPD.
This involves working with respiratory consultants, physiotherapists, clinical psychologists and other respiratory nurse specialists in hospital, as well as liaising with the home oxygen team and working with care homes.
Ms Smith works with COPD patients in the emergency department and at routine clinics to help prevent emergency admissions where possible.
She also monitors new patients at higher risk of frequent admissions, working closely with GPs, community care teams and community matrons at Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.
“I enjoy the variety of roles I have within the team – every day is different and brings new challenges,” said Ms Smith.
“I feel our service makes a difference to patients’ lives as they seem to really appreciate our support and input,” she added.
As part of her award, she received a fully-funded Education for Health training module in respiratory care.
She said she hoped to use this to further develop her skills in either respiratory diagnostics or end of life care.