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Student nurses a hattrick of awards


A University of Wolverhampton postgraduate student is nursing a trio of awards after being announced Gastrointestinal (GI) Nurse of the Year by a leading nursing journal.

Maria Tan, 45, originally from the Philippines, had just passed her Master’s degree in Advanced Clinical Practice when she found out she had been awarded the GI Nurse of the Year title – a national award run by the British Journal of Nursing, a leading clinical journal for nurses.

Maria manages and leads the Gastroenterology day case unit at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. Her team was also recently awarded the ‘Service Development Prize 2021’ by the British Society of Gastroenterology.

Maria completed her degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing Studies (Hons) at the University of Wolverhampton and was awarded first class honours before undertaking her postgraduate education.

Maria was instrumental in the development and transformation of service for the delivery of paracentesis (large volume drainage of fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity) and infusions when existing services could not cater for patients requiring urgent treatment, including blood, iron, biologics and other transfusions.

In addition, with the Covid-19 pandemic climate, pro-active planning resulted in the relocation of the service to a remote “cold” site to ensure highly vulnerable and immuno-compromised patients requiring the gastroenterology services were diverted to the day case unit and receive appropriate treatment without the risk of cross-infection at the acute hospital site.

The initiative upskilled nurses with ultrasound scan training and competencies with a view to deliver ultrasound-guided body fluid sampling for inpatients, minimising delays in waiting for interventional radiology-assisted procedures.

She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won the Nurse of the Year award, it was the icing on the cake after passing my Master’s degree and my team having just been awarded the service development prize by the British Society of Gastroenterology.

“Being a novel nurse-led, nurse-delivered service, the initiative I developed changed clinical practice completely, with upskilling of nursing staff and a truly integrated service with no boundaries between nurses and doctors.

“The initiative has empowered nursing staff with greater training opportunities, supporting recruitment and retention. The procedures which were traditionally delivered by medical staff are provided by nurses, which changed the face of nursing and reflects close collaborative working with nursing, medical, and management teams to solve local problems.

“Service continuance and delivery of treatment during the times of pandemic resulted in hospital admission avoidance and allowing hospital bed allocation for those affected with Covid-19 virus.

“I have always said that nothing would be possible without the team and significant others who worked tirelessly to make this happen. I will always be grateful to the University and the staff in the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing as everyone has played a significant role in my educational and professional development.”

Dr Mary Drozd, Course Leader for the Master’s in Advanced Clinical Practice degree in the Institute of Health at the University, said: “This is just fantastic news and especially as it has all taken place during a pandemic when the challenges of working and learning have been immense.

“Maria has made a dramatic and positive difference for patients in the gastrointestinal speciality area where she works. We hope the MSc Advanced Clinical Practice course will continue to add value to Maria’s practice and develop her further in her professional career.”

Anyone wanting to study in the Institute of Health should register for one of the University’s forthcoming Virtual Open Days.



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