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Nursing’s biggest annual party, the NT Awards, yet again lives up to its billing this year as the winners and finalists in 12 categories celebrate their success

Nursing’s biggest annual party – the NT Awards – yet again lives up to its billing this year as the winners and finalists in 12 categories celebrate their success.

With a record number of entries, this year’s awards demonstrate everything that has characterised them in the past – creativity, compassion, technical skill, awareness of national and local policy drivers and an innovative drive to develop nursing practice to best fit a patient-centred model of care.

Many of last year’s categories remain – rewarding projects in infection control nursing, continence, sexual health and mental health, as well as those that demonstrate innovation in a particular nursing specialty, those that recognise the work of a team, and an award specifically for agency nurses. Brand new categories include the chief nursing officer’s award, which goes to a nurse who is nominated by her or his director of nursing for having demonstrated strong clinical leadership and achieved real benefits for patients. Also new this year is the category aimed at projects that promote social inclusion – an area where nurses have demonstrated real imagination and creativity in developing services for hard-to-reach groups. Continuing the leadership theme, the cancer nursing category this year specifically rewards strong leadership – in a field of nursing where the quality of nursing leadership really does set the tone. And finally we are delighted to include once again categories in child health and in maternity services.

The standard of entries is always high. It is a real challenge not only to select winners but also to shortlist just five from scores of entries in each category. It has caused real dilemmas and inevitable disappointments.

Our thanks go to all the judges who have devoted their time, energy and expertise to a robust but demanding process.

And Nursing Times readers were this year invited to get more directly involved, voting for their favourite ‘Person of the year’ via by choosing from a list of nurses who, in contrasting ways, have made unique contributions to nursing and healthcare over the past year. The winner was Sue Greenwood, a school nurse from Cornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT, who raised the issue of school nursing workloads with the then health secretary Patricia Hewitt, telling her she covered 33 schools, one further education college and 25 looked-after children – a caseload of 9,000.

Our thanks, as ever, go to our sponsors – a mixture of commercial companies, professional organisations and trade unions as well as NHS trusts and strategic health authorities. They not only help to fund the awards but also bring enormous expertise to the process, helping to shape the entry criteria and judge the entries. Our thanks also go to the professional organisations that have supported some of the clinical categories.

But, as ever, the biggest thanks – and our congratulations – go to those that enter, opening up their work to the scrutiny of others. Many of these receive no public recognition, yet it is hugely important that nurses continue to recognise that what they have done stands out and deserves celebration, dissemination and replication in other areas of practice. While only a few can win, this year’s party is a celebration of all their efforts.

Rachel Downey, editor, Nursing Times

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