A north-east neonatal nurse has been shortlisted for a prestigious accolade.
Nicole Bauwens, nurse manager at the neonatal unit at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, was announced as a finalist in the RCNi Nurse Awards, which celebrate healthcare staff who go above and beyond to save lives and provide outstanding care for patients.
This year’s competition attracted more than 700 entries – the highest number of nominations in its 31-year history.
Nicole was shortlisted for the Child Health Award after introducing family integrated care to the unit – encouraging parents and staff to work together to make sure their baby has the best start to life.
As a result of her commitment to changing the culture of parents not being fully involved with their newborns in the unit, there are now improved facilities for families, including colostrum kits given out to mums in labour to encourage early expressing, and increased skin-to-skin contact between parents and babies.
Nicole said: “I saw few parents present and involved in the care of their newborn while they were being treated on the ward, resulting in serious medical and psychological outcomes.
“I’ve made it my mission to change this culture by enabling parents to become fully involved and they present their children on ward rounds.
“We no longer view parents as ‘visitors’ to the ward, they are the lead carers for their babies.”
Her model of family integrated care has achieved such positive results that the length of stays in the ward has decreased, and other hospitals in the UK and across the world have shown interest in the innovation.
Nicole will be presenting the model as far away as New Zealand and Singapore.
Rachel Armitage, managing director at RCNi, said: “The RCNi panel of professional judges voted Nicole as a finalist because of her incredible story and because of the impact she has had on paediatric services in the UK.
“With the nursing shortage high on the national agenda, it’s important that we give nurses like Nicole the recognition they deserve, and we look forward to celebrating her work at the awards in July.”
Award winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on July 4.