and Elsie Clinghan, winners of the
RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the
Year Award 2008. Garvin and Elsie
fought off competition from six
other finalists to receive the
HILLSBOROUGH man Garvin McKnight and Elsie
Clinghan from Donacloney have won the RCN Northern Ireland Nurse
of the Year Award for 2008.
Elsie and Garvin, who are learning disability
nurses based at Muckamore Abbey Hospital, won the award for
their "nursing excellence and outstanding commitment to patient
They were presented with the award by Health
minister Michael McGimpsey.
Gavin and Elsie fought off competition from
six other finalists to receive the award for leading the Adapted
Sex Offender Treatment Programme at Muckamore.
This is one of only five pilot projects
throughout the UK developed by the Home Office for men with mild
to moderate learning disability who have a history of sexual
offending. The pilot at Muckamore is the only one within a
health care setting, the others are all based in the Criminal
The programme aims to develop the role of the
nurse as a direct therapist to assist individuals to address
their behaviour. This has required Elsie and Garvin to undertake
extensive training over the past three and a half years as well
as passing a rigorous assessment. They have been commended for
their courage and personal commitment in undertaking such a
project but said: Our reward for this work as nurses lies within
the knowledge that we are actively contributing to a safer
Another local nurse, Barbara Hanna from Dromore,
was runner-up in the Directors of Nursing Award. Barbara, who is
a respiratory nurse specialist at the South Eastern Health and
Social Care Trust, won the award for developing a Respiratory
Early Discharge Scheme for patients in the trust. This has
resulted in improved clinical outcomes and patient experience
and reduced hospital admissions.
Commenting on the Awards, RCN Northern
Ireland Director Mary Hinds said: "Congratulations to Elsie and
Garvin on their outstanding achievement. They have made a
difference in a very specialised and difficult area of nursing.
In particular I'd like to pay tribute to their personal courage
and vision which has not only made a difference to patients but
also for the greater good of the community.
"Congratulations also to Barbara. These
awards demonstrate the good practice and innovations that are
taking place throughout Northern Ireland. They also illustrate
how nurses are contributing to a more efficient and effective
health service, yet keeping the focus on dignity and compassion.
It is extremely encouraging to see the breadth of expertise and
high level of patient care on offer.
"Nurses are playing a leading role in
developing services for patients as well as making a real
difference to people's lives."
From left are: Alan Finn,
Director of Nursing at the Western Trust,
Barbara Hanna from Dromore, Runner-up in the
Directors of Nursing Award, Bernie
McWilliams, Joint Runner-up and Mary Hinds,
Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland.