National award for Southend Hospital specialist nurse

A nurse at Mid and South Essex Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been announced as Urology Nurse of the Year at the British Journal of Nursing (BJN) Awards.

Ann French, Lead Urology Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist based at Southend Hospital, was up against two other finalists in the national awards. The award ceremony was held online due to the on-going pandemic.

During her video acceptance speech, Ann, from Colchester, said: “There are so many nurses who deserve this right now and I’ve got just over two years left until I retire from over 42 years in nursing, so this is really special and a real honour.

“I’m only here because of the inspirational colleagues I’ve worked with over the years, the resilient and brave patients I continue to care for and of course an understanding family.”

One of Ann’s achievements to help improve patient care was setting up the oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) service from scratch in 2001, starting with three urologists and expanding it to nine. She has also trained four CNS and been instrumental in setting up nurse led clinics.

Ann was also heavily involved in the bid for Southend Hospital to become a centre for urology cancer surgery; she has also set up urology support groups and health and wellbeing events.

Ann added: “There have been tears and laughter and a rollercoaster of emotions over the past few months, and I can honestly say I have never felt prouder of my team, and winning this has been a great buzz for us all.

“I’m so overwhelmed with the messages and flowers I’ve received, but I know that within my team there are future BJN Urology Nurses of the Year and that is something we should all celebrate.”

Emma Chaplin, Associate Director of Nursing for Cancer, said: “Ann has worked tirelessly for many years, caring for hundreds of people affected by urology cancers.

“She is a huge inspiration and has led on improving care to many people across Essex, bringing a fantastic team together, with the patient always being at the heart of everything they do.”

Mick Ferris

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