Liz Smith named ‘Care Registered Nurse 2020’ at the National Care Awards
Consensus are proud to announce that Consensus Service Manager, Elizabeth (Liz) Smith has been named ‘Registered Care Nurse 2020’ at the National Care Awards.
The National Care Awards, now in its 22nd year, is the longest established Annual Awards in the Care sector. Organised by social care’s leading publication, Caring Times, the Awards celebrate the very best people in the long-term care sector, highlighting excellence and rewarding those who work tirelessly to provide consistently outstanding care. There are 18 categories all together
Liz who runs The Gables, a learning disability service with nursing support, for individuals with complex nursing needs, mental health needs and palliative care in Ely, Cambridgeshire; joined over 600 guests at a Virtual Awards ceremony held at the London Hilton Metropole on Wednesday, 25th November, where the winners were announced.
The path to becoming an Outstanding Nurse
Liz has been a nurse for over 45 years and grew up in nursing. Her experiences of caring for people from very early adolescence shaped her as a person and put her on the path to becoming an outstanding nurse.
Liz explains, “I first became interested in caring for people at age 12 when I used to look after my mother who had a severe back problem. I then joined St John’s Ambulance before gaining a work permit at age 13, working at Laybourne Grange, a massive hospital for people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental health issues.”
“I worked on the Children’s ward with children my own age and so I was able to connect with them at their level and would take my dolls and tell them stories, which they loved. I went on to do my cadet training at 16 at all the Dartford hospitals, before training in orthopaedics. I then came here to The Gables 11 years ago, where I have been able to put my experiences to good use.”
“Over this time, I have continued to learn and develop my nursing skills, so that I can support the individuals here who have very diverse and complex needs to achieve a good quality of life,” adds Liz.
Qualities and attributes
A qualified nurse since 1973, Liz has always advocated for the people she supports, and is highly respected by all who know her, from external health professionals and her support team, to the individuals she supports and their families.
Liz says, “We are all working towards the same goal of supporting the individual to achieve the best outcomes, so it is important to listen and make decisions together that are in the person’s best interests.”
“Each individual we support has their own complex needs, so you have to think creatively, to be a good problem solver and willing to adapt our approach to meet their individual needs. It is about valuing each individual as a person and supporting them to see the value in themselves – in their life and their goals and ambitions.”
Described as a highly skilled and inspirational leader, Liz’s innovative, person-centred approach has transformed the delivery of care and achieved excellent outcomes for individuals and staff. Always leading from the front, she takes a hand-on approach, working alongside the team to put strategies into practice.
“The individuals we support at The Gables have multiple and very complex needs both physically and emotionally, so every day can present new and different challenges. Some individuals come to us having spent years without having their needs met, so building up trust so they are confident we genuinely care and want the best for them is often the first step.”
“We had one lady who was in a very poor physical and mental state when she came here. She had a very bad 24 years because she had not received the right support and had no self-esteem. I worked with her very closely, supporting her to grow in independence by opening a bank account, pick her own clothes, paint her bedroom into a pink colour that she has always wanted.”
“Now this lady can hold her own reviews, she tells people what she wants, we go shopping and we have coffee and she has a very good life – her family cannot believe how much her life has changed for the better.”
Supporting her team
The health and wellbeing of her support team is also an absolute priority for Liz who is a strong advocate of training and mentorship.
Liz says, “I want to lift my team up to be the best that they can be. This can be through ensuring they have the training they need to feel competent and confident in their role and it can also be recognising that they are human, and they need care, support and friendship too.”
“I make the team feel they are worthy of being a support worker and also help them to understand they are not just a support worker – they are the backbone of the home.”
“This is what I am good at, making people feel that they are worth their weight in gold. Making them feel worthy by fulfilling their needs and ambitions.”
Reflecting on the award, Liz said, “I’m honoured to have received this award. As a team, we work incredibly hard to ensure we have the right skills and the right environment to support people to achieve exceptional outcomes, so for me, this award really serves as an acknowledgement of what we have achieved as a whole team.”
“Empowering people to achieve their goals, whether that is a supported individual or my support team, is the most rewarding aspect of being a nurse for me,” adds Liz.
Eddie Morgan, Managing Director of Consensus said, “Liz is an exceptional nurse and a much loved and respected colleague here at Consensus and we are all incredibly proud of her. For Liz, nothing comes before the people she supports and her team and I believe she embodies everything that we aspire to be as professional’s within the Adult Social Care sector.”
“Through her hard work and commitment, she has successfully embedded a person-centred approach, positive culture and innovative work practices that ensure every aspect of an individual’s care is delivered to an exceptional standard and geared towards achieving exceptional outcomes.”
“We are delighted that her efforts have been recognised through this prestigious award,” adds Eddie.
This year, Liz has also been shortlisted as a finalist for the ‘Social Care Nurse Award’ in the Great British Care Awards 2020, East of England regional finals, attending a virtual judging day on 20th November. The winner will be announced at a glittering Gala Event in April 2021.