Whipps Cross ‘matron in a million’ crowned RCN Nurse of the Year 2019
A ‘one in a million’ senior nurse who has transformed an eye care unit at Whipps Cross Hospital has been crowned RCN Nurse of the Year 2019.
Taurai ‘Tara’ Matare has been described as epitomising everything you ‘could hope for in a nurse leader’, winning the profession’s top accolade at the RCNi Nurse Awards on 3 July 2019.
Judges praised her passion for patient care, innovative ideas and her determination to overcome obstacles.
Earlier in the evening, Tara – who is a senior nurse and advanced nurse practitioner at Barts Health NHS Trust - was also announced winner of the Leadership category, supported by RCNi journal Nursing Management.
Tara said: “This is a dream come true. I have been a nurse for over 25 years, and to be recognised in this way for me is the pinnacle of my career. I'm going to continue doing what I do best in making sure that I promote nursing to nursing students. If you are dedicated it pays, and the sky is the limit for you. If you are committed to nursing and you want to develop you can achieve your goal.”
Barts Health NHS Trust chief nurse Caroline Alexander said: “Tara epitomises everything I could hope for in a nurse leader. I am hugely proud that she has been named the RCN Nurse of the Year 2019.
“Tara is a real champion for improvements at Barts Health; her positivity, drive, creativity and unwavering dedication are unmatched. Her leadership at the Whipps Cross eye treatment centre has made real changes for colleagues and patients. She really is one in a million.”
Zebina Ratansi, Director of Nursing at Whipps Cross University Hospital added: "I'm extremely proud of Tara's achievements at Whipps Cross, and for her commitment to provide an exceptional service at the Eye Treatment Centre. She is a fantastic role model for other nurses and clinicians, and she thoroughly deserved to win the Nurse of the Year Award."
The judges, chaired by RCN deputy president Yvonne Coghill, were impressed by the passion shown for her specialty, which drove her 14-year mission to transform care for patients.
In 2004, Tara was asked to use her strong clinical leadership to bring together Whipps Cross Hospital’s separate eye casualty, outpatients and theatres to create a single, modern eye treatment centre.
Tara has ensured that there the unit is now fully staffed, and cut the number of breaches of the four-hour target for emergency treatment at the unit to almost zero. She has been lauded both by at the Trust and further afield for the supportive culture she has created, where before it was fractious with accusations of bullying. Her passion for staff development has created a culture in which everyone is a leader.
Consultant eye surgeon Sudeshna Patra nominated Ms Matare for the RCNi Nurse Awards. She said: “I remember the zeal with which Ms Matare developed new clinics; within months we were up and running, thanks to her skill and efficiency.
“In 2010 Tara was the first and only nurse injector in London, independently performing clinical assessments in retina clinics and devising management plans. Since those early days, she has developed her team so that we have nurse practitioner-led emergency eye services, an expanded team of nurse injectors, nurse-led diagnostic and pre-assessment clinics and a practice development nurse. Her greatest strength is her refusal to give up.”
The judges, chaired by RCN deputy president Yvonne Coghill, were impressed by the passion Tara showed for her specialty, which drove her 14-year mission to transform care for patients. Ms Coghill says: “Tara’s vision to provide excellent care for eye patients and her commitment to achieving that vision despite the barriers in her way is remarkable. She has never let up despite disappointments and the statistics show that she has achieved her goal. The judges were especially impressed with her determination to develop her team and the way in which she has turned every member of the nurse workforce into a leader.”