Winner announced of Julie Bolus Rising Star in Nursing award

26 November 2021

Stephen Harrison, EIS Hub Manager at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, is the winner of the Good Governance Institute’s (GGI’s) inaugural Julie Bolus Rising Star in Nursing award.

Stephen’s win was announced on Thursday evening by Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS England, at an emotional awards event in which friends and family remembered Julie, an accomplished nurse, NHS executive director, NHS non-executive director, and GGI senior associate, who passed away following a short illness earlier this year.

Also announced were four runners-up: Nicky Hibbert, Senior Nurse Practitioner at St Gemma’s Hospice; Shanice Enoe, CAMHS Liaison and Crisis Team Lead at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust; Icel Suarez, Kidney Transplant Clinical Nurse Specialist at University Hospitals Derby and Burton; and Lisa Smith, Practice Nurse at St Peter’s Street.

Ruth May was one of six judges for the award. Also on the panel were: Caroline Alexander CBE, Group Chief Nursing Officer at Barts Health NHS Trust; Professor Nicola Ranger, Chief Nurse and Executive Director of Midwifery for King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Sue Smith OBE, recently retired Executive Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust; Jack Hughes, Julie’s son, who is himself a nurse working in mental health, and Julie’s husband David Bolus.

Everyone who spoke at the event had warm things to say about Julie, who was described by GGI chief executive Andrew Corbett-Nolan as ‘a bright, positive presence in our lives’. Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Coventry University, said Julie was ‘passionate, dynamic and lots of fun to be around’, adding that she ‘touched the hearts and minds of many people.’ Caroline Alexander called Julie ‘utterly unique…integrity ran through her like a stick of rock.’ And Ruth May said: ‘I remember her fighting her corner for her patients with huge passion…she was one feisty nurse and a very credible leader.’

Julie’s son Jack spoke of her ‘connection and kindness’ and of the way she ‘instilled compassion in everyone whose life she touched.’ He said her ‘laughter and positive attitude could light up a room’, and described how her hard work and determination had inspired him to become a nurse, which, he said, ‘has its challenges but it’s also the gift that keeps on giving’.

Accepting his award, Stephen Harrison said it was ‘a privilege and an honour’, adding that, although he never met Julie, after hearing the tributes to her he was sure they would have been good friends.

The winners were chosen from 198 nominations from all over the country. The four runners-up receive prizes of £500 and Stephen wins £1000. All five will also be offered shadowing opportunities at NHS England / Improvement and beyond.

Winner and runners-up

The winner, Stephen Harrison, was described as innovative and committed manager who continuously demonstrates his passion throughout his work. Thanks to Stephen, the Birmingham and Solihull EIS Hub achieved 100% for physical health in the recent National Clinical Audit of Psychosis audit and, to date, is the only early intervention service that has achieved this.

Stephen is prominent in his local community and has built links with many local businesses, third sector agencies and partners. He uses these links to deliver extra services to the client group his team looks after, such as local allotment space, and the use of tennis courts and a rock-climbing wall.

Runner-up Nicky Hibbert was nominated for the way she combines clinical expertise with drive, motivation and kindness, always putting her patients first. She demonstrates all four pillars of advanced clinical practice in everything she does. One family member of a patient said: “They kept in touch. They were always there for me, any time, and it means a lot. I will never forget that.”

Runner-up Shanice Enoe has dedicated her career to working in CAMHS, in both inpatient and community services. When switching from inpatient to community services, she took a one-month break to undertake a self-funded mental health placement in Bali, Indonesia with a volunteer group, during which she prepared and delivered individual and group mental health workshops, and life skill activities promoting positive mental wellbeing.

Runner-up Icel Suarez relocated to the UK from the Philippines 16 years ago. She is passionate about delivering quality patient care and is currently working as a kidney transplant nurse specialist, part of a dedicated team of three providing post-transplant care to more than 300 patients across Derbyshire. She was described as ‘unassuming, positive, polite, conscientious and extremely hard-working’.

And runner-up Lisa Smith is a St Peter's Street practice nurse who is pioneering a project focusing on long-term conditions recall that will revolutionise patient care. She is passionate about improving long-term condition recall by reviewing patients’ multiple conditions annually in a single sitting, reducing the number of appointments and improving efficiency.

A video featuring the shortlisted nurses talking about what nursing means to them and the future of the profession is now available on the GGTV Governance YouTube channel.