A School nurse who works across Bury and surrounding communities, supporting children, young people and families, has been awarded the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse (QN).
Dedicated Helen Ashwell who works with community nursing teams at Bury Care Organisation – part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust - has received the national accolade from charity The Queen’s Nursing Institute, which works to improve the nursing care of people in their own homes and communities.
The title is given to nurses who are committed to high standards of patient care, learning and leadership. Those who become Queen’s Nurses get access to development workshops, bursaries, networking opportunities, and a shared professional identity.
Helen commenced her nursing training in 1983 and following qualification, she worked as a staff nurse on Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a year in Aberdeen. She then moved to Queen’s Park Hospital in Blackburn on both paediatric and the NICU .
Between 1989 and 2005 Helen worked on paediatric wards, initially at Birch Hill Hospital and then at Rochdale Infirmary. In 2005, she undertook a year secondment to work at Elms bank school in Bury and has been there ever since.
Helen’s role supports the health needs of children with learning disabilities to access school. This involves staff training in certain medical conditions e.g. gastrostomy/tracheostomy and to assess a child if unwell and prescribe if required.
Helen also supports the families of those children and supports general health promotion, e.g., healthy eating and weight management.
Commenting on her award, Helen said:
“I love being a school nurse – it is an absolute privilege to work with these young people and play a part in their development. No two days are ever the same, but every day is interesting and rewarding.”
Jill Stott, divisional director of nursing for Bury community services at the Trust said:
“I am absolutely delighted that Helen has received this honour and congratulate her for her hard work and dedication. The past two years have been incredibly tough for everyone and this award recognises how Helen has gone above and beyond in supporting young people during the pandemic, and for her years of dedication to community district nursing.”