National recognition for ‘inspirational’ learning disabilities nurse
PUBLISHED: 14:11 20 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:11 20 June 2018
An Ipswich-based nurse who “goes above and beyond her job title” to support people with learning disabilities has been nominated for a national award.
Sue Bridges, from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), has been shortlisted in the Learning Disability Nurse Award category of the National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards 2018.
Mrs Bridges, NSFT’s professional lead for learning disabilities and autism, works to ensure the trust provides the most appropriate services to meet the needs of patients with these conditions.
“I watch the Tweets each year from the awards and the Learning Disability Nurse Award is very prestigious and the nominees so incredible in what they have achieved,” she said.
“I didn’t think for a minute I would be shortlisted so I am incredibly proud to have been nominated and to reach the final.”
She was put forward for the award by Gemma Grace, a former NSFT patient who has autism, and Heidi McKay, NSFT modern matron and head of clinical practice.
Miss Grace, from Ipswich, said she felt strongly that the work Ms Bridges had done to improve services for people with autism was worthy of such an accolade.
“Sue understands me for the person I am, and treats me as a person, not a medical label. She makes me feel valued,” she added.
“She is a very motivated person who goes above and beyond her job title and is always available, either by email or phone.”
Ms McKay added: “Sue’s approachable nature, expertise and sheer dedication has placed her firmly at the forefront of leading our learning disability and autism quality improvement plan.”
Dawn Collins, NSFT’s interim director of nursing, quality and patient safety, said Mrs Bridges’ “inspirational leadership skills” were deserving of national recognition.
Mrs Bridges is based in Endeavour House, Ipswich, but she works across both counties offering clinical advice, delivering training to staff and liaising with partner organisations.
The England winners will be announced during a ceremony in Birmingham on June 29, and they will go through to the UK final in the autumn.
NSFT has also been shortlisted in The Employer Award category for its learning disabilities services.