Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


RCN Nurse of the Year Awards

28 November 2013

Healthcare Sciences staff at the RCN Nurse of the Year Awards 2013.

From left: Dr Ben Hannigan, Judith Benbow, Professor Daniel Kelly, Dr Carolyn Middleton, Dr Dianne Watkins, Dr Aled Jones.

A glittering celebration of nursing in Wales took place in Cardiff City Hall on the evening of 27th November 2013. Prizes were awarded across 15 categories, with current and former staff and students from Cardiff School of Healthcare Sciences achieving a fantastic spectrum of awards.

The winner of the Nurse of the Year award, sponsored by Velindre NHS Trust, was Ruth Owens - a Ward Sister at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and current student on the Healthcare Sciences MSc Advanced Practice. Professor Rosemary Kennedy, Honorary Visiting Professor at Cardiff University and Board Chair at Velindre NHS Trust, presented the award to Ruth. Professor Kennedy was joined by RCN President Andrea Spyropoulos, RCN Wales Board Chair Gaynor Jones and Acting Director of RCN Wales Peter Meredith-Smith in congratulating Ruth on her compassionate and innovative work in older people’s care.

Cardiff University School of Healthcare Sciences sponsored the very first RCN Wales Research in Nursing award. The winner of this prestigious accolade was Healthcare Sciences Professional Doctorate graduate Dr Carolyn Middleton. The judges were impressed by Carolyn’s research into opioid tolerance in chronic pain, particularly with regard to her methods and the relevance of her research to patient care. The runner-up for this award was Sue Francombe, who previously undertook a standalone module within the School.

The Chief Nursing Officer for Wales award was won by Helen Dinham, a former practice facilitator within the School, and the runner-up in this category was Claire Williams, a former BSc Clinical Practice student at the School.

Melrose East, Aneurin Bevan Health Board Practice Facilitator for the School of Healthcare Sciences and one of the first cohort of graduates from the former Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies degree programme in the early 1970s, won the very first Humanitarian Relief Award to be offered as part of the ceremony.

Rachel Hart, Associate Lecturer in Clinical Skills at the School of Healthcare Sciences, was the runner-up in the Nurse Education category. Current Healthcare Sciences postgraduate student Emma-Jane Hagerty, who also achieved her undergraduate degree at the School, was the runner-up in the Mental Health and Learning Disabilities category. Leanne Thomas, former Bachelor of Nursing student at the School, was runner-up in the Children and Midwifery category.

The evening was attended by first Minister Carwyn Jones and Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford, who commented on the key role that nursing plays in meeting the health needs of people in Wales. Staff from the School of Healthcare Sciences joined with colleagues from across Wales to celebrate the contribution of nurses to our society.

Professor Daniel Kelly, RCN Chair in Nursing Research and Head of Research & Innovation at Cardiff School of Healthcare Sciences, said, “The evening provides an opportunity to stop and celebrate the fantastic work that nurses do to support patients, and our National Health Service, every day. I was very proud to see so many nurses receiving recognition and hope many more will be nominated in future years.”

Professor Sheila Hunt, Head of the School of Healthcare Sciences, said, “The School of Healthcare Sciences here at Cardiff University were honoured and delighted to sponsor the first ever RCN Research in Nursing Award.

“We were very pleased with the overall quality of the entries as well as the innovation, care and compassion demonstrated by the applicants; we feel optimistic about the future of research in nursing. Clinically-focussed research in nursing can and does make a real difference to the lives of patients and we see research in nursing playing a pivotal role in improving the quality of care, finding solutions to challenging issues and often simply making things better.”