An emergency nurse dedicated to helping vulnerable young people deal with the impact of youth violence has been named the RCN Nurse of the Year 2020 in the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
Emergency department sister Ana Waddington took out nursing’s top accolade at the RCNi Nurse Awards on 8 October for her work in supporting young people at risk of knife crime. Earlier in the week she also won the Innovations in your Specialty category of the awards.
Taking action in frustration over the number of young people arriving at the emergency department as victims of serious youth violence, in 2018 Ana voluntarily set up a project called YourStance which runs workshops that teaches young people aged 13-25 lifesaving skills. The revolutionary approach brings young people and health professionals together.
Ana started with three volunteers using a manikin in Feltham Young Offenders Institution near London but now, in her own time, coordinates the 150 NHS volunteers she has recruited, including nurses, doctors and paramedics. In doing so she has reached hundreds of hard to reach local young people in youth centres, schools, pupil referral units, religious organisations and prisons in east London.
Extremely passionate about her work, Ana said: “I can’t really believe I won, but it means the world to me to be recognised for something that I initially did in my own time, not really for anything other than trying to find a way to support victims of serious youth violence.
“I’m so grateful for the consideration and the award!”
Caroline Alexander, Group Chief Nurse at Barts Health NHS Trust said:
“I’m absolutely delighted that Ana has won Nurse of the Year. she is a unique and very special nurse and we are very lucky to have her at Barts Health.
“To win in 2020 – the year of the nurse and midwife – is particularly special. I am hugely proud of her.
"I am also hugely proud of nursing at the Trust. To have winners of this prestigious award in two consecutive years demonstrates the passion, creativity and commitment our nurses have towards caring for our patients.”
Lucie Butler, Director of Nursing at The Royal London Hospital said: “I am incredibly proud of what Ana and our violence reduction team are achieving for at risk youths in our local community.
“Ana has gone above and beyond her role as an emergency nurse, using her expertise to look outside the traditional healthcare setting to address youth violence.
“This project embodies true commitment and compassion for our community - it is innovative nursing at its best.”
Ana is currently on secondment to the Physician Response Unit (PRU) at the London Air Ambulance Charity.