A Co Down father-of-three has fought off fierce competition to take home the much-sought after title of NI Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Nurse of the Year 2018.
Chris Wamsley, from Waringstown, who works at the Mater Hospital in Belfast, received an award at a special ceremony held at the Culloden Hotel, Holywood.
The 30-year-old, who was nominated for taking on a management role and leading a ward team that had previously felt demotivated and lacking in direction, admitted that he was surprised by his impressive success.
"I wasn't expecting it, but it gives me great pride," he said.
"I was very honoured even to be a finalist so I was completely shocked and humbled to learn that I'd won the whole thing. Nursing is all I've done since I left school so to get the highest accolade in nursing in Northern Ireland is just a great privilege and honour."
Chris, who qualified in 2009, has given almost nine years of his life to date to his calling.
His wife Mairead (32), with whom he has two sons - Ryan (3) and Euan (18 months) - and a six-month-old daughter Catherine, is also a nurse, but luckily they weren't in competition with each other.
Indeed, Chris revealed that "she came along as my plus one" to see him get the top accolade after previously being named as one of four finalists at the event organised by the RCN.
"The incentives we've brought in are extremely patient focused," he said. "It's all about putting dignity, compassion and choice for patients into their care and the results are really fantastic.
"There was a perception that when people come into hospital they go home needing more care but this incentive does its best to help patients self-care and to get up and get dressed and follow a normal routine so it means they're going home as close to independent as possible so their care needs haven't changed, which improves their quality of life greatly."
Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland, Janice Smyth said Chris "identified the impact that hospitalisation can have on patients who had been living independently at home".
"This initiative has made a huge difference to these patients, promoting dignity and person-centred care," she added.
"The judging panel was highly impressed at how Chris engaged and supported staff, built a cohesive team and improved staff morale through an initiative that enhanced the quality of patient care and patient's experience of care."
Drawing upon the work of Professor Brian Dolan, Chris designed the Dress for Success initiative which focuses upon promoting person-centred care, dignity and independence.
Prior to being a charge nurse at the Mater, Chris started in renal nursing at Belfast City Hospital where he spent five years before then moving to medical admissions in the Royal as deputy manager. And for him it's a true vocation. "Ever since my first
placement I fell in love with the job," he said. "It's a fantastic job where you can really see the impact of what you do every day."
He added: "I met my wife on the first day of registration when we were training so she would never have been as lucky to have met me if it wasn't for nursing!"
Posted on Friday Jun 15