On Saturday 13 May, the Royal College of Nursing held their annual congress and awards ceremony, and one St George’s member of staff took home one of the prestigious prizes!

Nicki Parry, a Practice Educator at Balham Health Centre who has recently joined the Trust, won the award for Learning Representative of the Year. We caught up with Nicki to chat about her work and the award.

Tell us about your role at St George’s?

Well it’s a new role, there are two of us who work as Community Practice Educators for the district nursing team, and I’m looking after the north and south of the borough. The idea is to put in place education for the district nurses, making sure competencies are completed, that they do their mandatory training, as well as helping them with any other new innovative things we might come up with.

Do you know who nominated you for the RCN Award?

I think it was my tutor – I did the RCN Learning Representatives course and I guess she was impressed with the work I’d done. Once I qualified as an RCN Learning Representative, I had a mentor who again suggested I be nominated so it could have been both of them!

What did it mean to you when you found you’d won?

The biggest thing was having a group of your peers saying “you’re worthy”, which was particularly nice after this year. I was made redundant earlier in the year and my self-worth had been sort of damaged by that, and then I got this job at St George’s and then the Award, which really helped.

Why do you think you won?

When I was at Royal Trinity Hospice there was no revalidation education so I set that up. I also set up a new resource room and I was in control of lots of different notice boards where I put up new articles every month. I was always happy to help student nurses who came in with their essays, or take them with me to visit care homes or to any teaching sessions I was doing, but I also did just see it as a natural extension of my job anyway!

How was the awards ceremony experience itself?

I didn’t think I’d be nervous! My category was the first one to be announced and at that point I didn’t know if I’d got first or second place, and then they called up the gentlemen who was the runner up. And it dawned on me that I must be the winner. I’d say I ended up being both excited and nervous!

Finally, any plans on how you’ll spend the prize money?

I think I’m going to go away for a long weekend somewhere, maybe Budapest or somewhere like that. I’d like to say I was going to buy lots of nursing books or put it towards a course…but maybe holiday first, books second!