A Southampton nurse has received a national award for her work in caring for patients with breathing problems.
Maria Smith, a respiratory nurse specialist at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, was named rising star of 2016 by the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists at an event in Loughborough.
The award recognises a respiratory nurse who has provided “compassionate care over and beyond that usually undertaken in a respiratory nursing career”.
Ms Smith, who qualified in 2010 and has spent time working with patients on a respiratory ward and as a research nurse, is currently part of the integrated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) team based at Southampton General Hospital.
Her role involves providing clinical and educational care for patients who have been admitted with a worsening of their COPD symptoms and supporting their discharge from hospital into the community.
Staff in the integrated COPD team at UHS oversee care bundles for any patient who is referred to the service in hospital with a past medical history of COPD.
As well as working with the home oxygen team, respiratory consultants, physiotherapists, clinical psychologists and other respiratory nurse specialists in hospital, they offer education and support to nursing homes if residents with COPD are admitted to hospital.
Ms Smith also tends to COPD patients in the emergency department and routine clinics to help prevent unnecessary re-admissions to hospital where possible.
In addition, she monitors new patients who are at higher risk of frequent admissions and liaises closely with GPs, community care teams and community matrons at Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust to manage more complex COPD patients.
“I enjoy the variety of roles I have within the team – every day is different and brings new challenges,” explained Ms Smith.
“I feel our service makes a real difference to patients’ lives as they seem to really appreciate our support and input and I am lucky to work with a close-knit team who all have patients' best interests in mind.”
As part of her award, Ms Smith received a fully-funded Education for Health training module in respiratory care to help with her career development.
“I felt stunned but also proud to win this award,” she said. “I also feel very grateful to work with such a fantastic team at UHS and I'm incredibly thankful to have my achievements acknowledged since qualifying almost six years ago.
“I always enjoy learning new things and challenging myself within the role and am hoping to use my Education for Health funding in either respiratory diagnostics or end of life care to drive forward and continue to improve COPD patient care.”
Posted on Friday 20 May 2016