Healthcare assistant shortlisted for national nursing award

Tara Johnson, healthcare assistant at Torbay Hospital

Published: 31 July 2023

A healthcare assistant who works at Torbay Hospital has been shortlisted for a national nursing award.

Tara Johnson, who works in the hospital’s emergency department, is on the shortlist for the Nursing Support Worker Award in the prestigious Royal College of Nursing’s Nursing Awards.

Tara was nominated by paediatric advanced clinical practitioner Vicky Le Huray. The nomination recognised Tara’s efforts to strive to improve services for children and young people attending the department and the high level of support she provides.

This shortlisting follows Tara’s win in the Healthcare Assistant of the Year category in last year’s PAFTAs (Paediatric Awards for Training Achievements). The PAFTAs are a regional award which recognise the hard work and commitment of the people working to support children and young people across Devon and Cornwall.

Vicky said: “Tara’s dedication to and passion for her work is evident to all who work with her and this is reflected by her multiple nominations in the recent PAFTA awards.

“She is an absolute credit to paediatrics within the emergency department and works tirelessly to improve the care of every single one of the children, young people and their families who come through the department. We wish her all the best in the RCN Nursing Awards.”

The judges highlighted Tara’s constant advocacy for some of the most vulnerable people attending hospital emergency departments, with a particular focus on looking after children with mental ill health, learning difficulties and complex medical backgrounds.

Her finalist profile highlights some of Tara’s work in the department, including her the development of communication aids and her fundraising work for suitable distraction toys.

On receiving the news, Tara said: “During my three years at Torbay Hospital, I have become extremely passionate and driven about supporting vulnerable children and enabling young people to have a voice and to be heard, especially those with disabilities, whether they communicate via communication cards, sensory equipment or other resources provided.

“My goal is to provide excellent care and to adapt the environment for the child or young person who is attending the department, ensuring they feel safe, supported, and acknowledged. Over time, I have developed my own shift motto, which is ‘as long as I make one child smile, then I have done my job’.”

RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said: “Our inspiring finalists demonstrate the very best of nursing and what can be achieved in some of the challenging times for the profession.

“They highlight the wide variety of ways nurses improve the care of people at all stages of life and how they demonstrate their professionalism and clinical excellence every day, and in every setting, throughout the UK.”

The winner from the category’s shortlist of five will be revealed on Friday 10 November 2023 in a ceremony at Liverpool Cathedral. For more information visit the RCN’s awards website.

The overall RCN Nurse of the Year 2023, selected from all the category winners, will also be announced at the event.