Nursing stars of 2022

30 November 2022

Tongesayi announced as 2022 Rising Star Nursing Award winner.

The winner of the second Rising Star Nursing award is Tongesayi Zhuwarara, professional nurse educator working at the Acute & Crisis Directorate of Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

Presenting Tongesayi’s award, Chief Nurse Dame Ruth May said he had come a long way since immigrating from a small village in Zimbabwe in 2015. He studied to be a mental health nurse while working as a London bus driver. She said: “On completion of his training you joined Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust where you are excelling as a nurse. Congratulations, I’m so proud to meet you.”

Tongesayi was nominated for the passion he shows for his work, for his fairness and for tackling issues around equality of access. He inspires others and is seen as an instrumental leader and change agent. He has championed a new approach in the acute and crisis inpatient wards to change their understanding, behaviours and culture to improve the experience of patients and staff alike.

A delighted Tongesayi accepted his award from his car, in which he was driving home at the end of a shift at Oxleas. He said: “This is a massive, massive shock. Thank you very much.”

Tongesayi will receive a prize of £1,000 and will be given career development and shadowing opportunities, as will the four runners-up announced during the awards event, each of whom will receive £500.

Runners-up praise

The first runner-up was Georgia Bull, advanced nurse practitioner at Barts Health NHS Trust. Georgia was praised for considering the holistic needs of patients, and for her kindness and good humour. She is committed to the education of others and is always incredibly supportive – never forgetting the small things that make a real difference, such as buying gifts or decorating the staff room.

Runner-up two was Naomi May, nurse consultant at Hampshire CAMHS, part of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Naomi was praised for her can-do attitude and willingness to go the extra mile. Despite working in a particularly demanding role, she always shows tenacity and passion – and a willingness to challenge where appropriate and to stand up and be counted.

Runner-up three was Lois Picon, registered nurse associate at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust. Lois was described as ‘a real trouper’. She shows drive and determination, managing to conuinue her studies despite the demands of her job, and exemplifies the values at the heart of good nursing – the sort of nurse who creates hope and excitement about the future of nursing.

The fourth and final runner-up was Nicola Rogers, duty team lead at the Reading Crisis Team, Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust. Nicola was described as ‘the real deal’ and was praised for being genuine and passionate. Her nominator paid her the highest compliment when they said they would want Nicola to be the one looking after their own family members if they needed care.

The challenge and privilege of nursing

The event was chaired by Dame Julie Moore, former CEO of University Hospitals Birmingham, non-executive director at Worcester Acute Hospitals, and professor of healthcare systems at Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick.

Dame Julie said: “Nursing is never far from the spotlight and the pandemic put a bright spotlight on nursing – the professionalism, the compassion but also the sheer bravery in dealing with the unknown. We stood and we clapped for nurses but it seems that the press and maybe politicians have a short memory because now we’re looking at a different kind of press over industrial action. And once again nurses are in the spotlight.

“But tonight we’re about celebrating everything that’s good and brilliant about nursing – everything that drew us to the profession in the first place. We’re celebrating the unique contribution nurses make to society.”

Dame Julie introduced Caroline Alexander CBE, group chief nursing officer at Barts Health NHS Trust. Caroline said: “It’s great to celebrate our rising stars again and to see the legacy of our great friend Julie Bolus live on through these awards.” She described the last two years as ‘the most profound experience all of us will have had’. She added: “We pushed the boundaries to do right by our patients and our communities in extraordinary circumstances. Often at great personal cost but demonstrating time after time the uniqueness of nursing and of nurses. Our adaptability, our resilience, our flexibility, our creativity showing no bounds across all nursing disciplines. Never have I been prouder to be a nurse.”

Caroline reflected on a discussion she had taken part in during a recording of one of GGI’s Public Good podcast series, on the topic of selflessness. She said: “What are the attributes of selflessness? When you look at them, they are nursing, through and through. It’s about being humble, courageous, respectful, teachable, generous, trusted, caring and just.”

Caroline handed over to Chief Nurse Dame Ruth May to present the awards. Dame Julie Moore said of Dame Ruth: “She went up even more in my estimation during the pandemic for the stand she took. She stood up with integrity about the code that we all had to abide by during the pandemic and I was never more proud of nursing than that moment.”

Competence, confidence, expertise – and fun

Dame Ruth said: “I know Julie would be so proud. She was a great leader, highly experienced, very well respected and great fun. The things I associate with Julie, in equal measure, are competence, confidence, expertise and fun. Last week I had the great privilege of meeting last year’s winner, Steve Harrison, and he said it was great to see recognition of the contribution that nurses make. Each of us have the opportunity and the challenge and the privilege to be a nurse – to be there at somebody’s most profound moments of their lives.”

The awards were established in 2021 to mark the death of Julie Bolus, a senior nurse and a much-valued friend and associate of GGI’s. Once again this year, Julie’s son Jack was one of the judges charged with finding winners from the 123 nominations. Also on the judging panel were James Avery, Director of Nursing, Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust; Sarah Cullen CNO, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS FT; Nancy O’Neill, COO, Bradford District and Craven Place Health and Care Partnership; GGI associate Karen Hunter; GGI principal consultant Simon Hall; and Stephen Harrison, last year’s winner.

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