Ward manager is Nurse of the Year
Northern Ireland's new Nurse of the Year has been hailed as an inspirational leader in the life-saving hospital ward she runs.
Donna Keenan, from Omagh, was celebrating after she picked up the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) award for 2010 from Health Minister Michael McGimpsey.
The winner, who is ward manager of the cardiac assessment unit at Tyrone County Hospital, fought off competition from five other finalists to receive the award for her role in establishing a nurse-led cardiac assessment unit for the hospital.
It is the 14th year of the awards, which took place on Wednesday night at the Culloden Hotel, Holywood.
Commenting on the awards, RCN Northern Ireland director Janice Smyth said: "Congratulations to Donna in achieving the overall title.
"Through her foresight and vision Donna has been instrumental in embracing change and leading and supporting her team to tailor services to meet the needs of the local community.
"As we have seen in recent weeks, the health service is undergoing major changes, not all of them welcome. However, this is an example of how nurses are looking to the future and trying to find ways of adapting and modernising services to ensure that patients are provided with care where it is needed most.
"The contribution that this service has made to the lives of those people who have needed it cannot be underestimated. Nurse-led initiatives such as this have the potential to make a real difference. Donna has used her creativity and imagination to take this forward and in doing so has had a huge impact on patient care."
The award organisers said that following the transfer of acute services from Omagh in February 2009, Donna recognised there was a gap in healthcare provision, particularly with regard to cardiac services.
She was credited with having the foresight to see that change was coming and so devised a nurse-led system.