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Nurses' dedication earns national award

Judith and Beth

The work of two Swansea Bay acute learning disability liaison nurses has been recognised through a national award.

Judith Wall and Bethan Williams (Pictured above: Judith on the left Bethan on the right) picked up the Learning Disabilities and Mental Health Award in this year’s Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Wales Nurse of the Year awards.

The pair, who are employed by SBUHB but based in Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, were praised by the judges for continuously striving to raise the profile of people with a learning disability and highlighting their needs.

As well as giving direct clinical support to patients in their care they have supported hospital staff both directly on the wards and also through their many training sessions across the health board.  

Amongst the innovative practices put in place to help patients feel calm and less stressed are sensory boxes and trolleys for different wards and departments and a Reminiscence/Rehabilitation and Interactive Therapy Activities system that allows patients to use apps and games.

Not content with that, they also oversee the continued implementation of a clinical policy ‘People with a Learning Disability Accessing Acute Secondary Care’ which translates Welsh standards into a health board-wide policy. 

Judith Wall said: “We’re really proud, and just so happy that all the hard work that we've done over the last year or two has been recognised. 

“Everybody works so hard but you don't always get that recognition. So to be appreciated for what we've done and just to be nominated - we're so grateful.

“I think this will raise the profile of learning disability services and encourage others to reach out for support in order to drive change, reduce health inequalities and break down barriers.”

The award ceremony took place in a gala dinner at City Hall in Cardiff with a range of categories within the NHS in Wales recognised.

Judith said: “It was really nice to see the amount of good work that's going on. I think the press and media focus more on the negative sides of the NHS and what's not working well at the moment. So to actually celebrate everybody's hard work like that was amazing.”

Summing up their role she said: “When patients with learning disabilities come into hospital we ensure that they access the right care and get the right support. Anything that we can do to help really in terms of communication and their care in general. There’s a lot of variety in what we do.”

Beth Williams said: “The fact we got shortlisted was amazing.

“Then we were against another fabulous finalist - I saw the work she did and I thought there is no chance of that of us getting it. So I was really shocked and blown away when we actually won it.

“I’m so just grateful for the opportunity to get to that point and to be nominated and, just like Judith said, it’s getting disability services out there and the acknowledgement that our services are there for people. So hopefully we will highlight that.

“I'm chuffed to bits. I don’t think it has sunk in yet.

“It's kind of made me realise that we’ve done a lot of good work. We will continue to keep doing the work and we will keep pushing to improve things for people with learning disabilities. That’s the biggest thing – to keep improving and breaking down barriers.”

Wendy James, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board’s quality lead, learning disabilities, said: “Many congratulations to Judith and Beth, so proud of them. What they have achieved is truly amazing and reflects their hard work and dedication to reducing health inequalities for people with a learning disability.”

Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth a galwadau ffôn yn y Gymraeg neu'r Saesneg. Atebir gohebiaeth Gymraeg yn y Gymraeg, ac ni fydd hyn yn arwain at oedi. Mae’r dudalen hon ar gael yn Gymraeg drwy bwyso’r botwm ar y dde ar frig y dudalen.

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