We are delighted to announce Nicola Kearney, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Hospice of the Valleys has been awarded the IJPC Award for Palliative Care Nurse of the Year 2021.

The award was presented at the virtual European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC) 17th Congress on 6th October 2021.

Jane Hart, Head of Clinical Services made the application in order to shine a spotlight not only upon the dedicated service the Hospice provides to our local Care Homes but to additionally recognise how difficult it has been for the care home staff who sought Nicola’s expertise and her care and support.

Since commencing in her post which is dedicated to our 14 local Care Homes Nicola has developed close working relationships with the staff in our Care Home community through the continuity of the service she provides.  She visits the care homes on a daily basis and whilst working through the pandemic was on site working alongside staff providing a lifeline and an essential link to the outside world whilst other services took a step back.

Nicola provided essential End of Life Care for the residents dying of Covid and other illness’s and conditions linking residents with their families and loved ones whenever she could through the use of technology.

An essential role Nicola provides is Education which she delivers both formally and informally often at the bedside providing on the job training and support for staff.  During the worst of the pandemic Nicola facilitating virtual “rounds “on her phone involving local Doctors and other professionals who were unable to visit at this time.  She recognised quickly the sheer horror of what began to unfold constantly providing essential support and encouragement for the staff throughout this difficult time.

As residents began to become ill through Covid, especially through the critical period of April 2020, Nicola quickly recognised the need to provide additional support and care for the staff who regard their residents as family.  Staff were heartbroken by the sheer amount of deaths witnessed during this period and often turned to Nicola for support describing their fears and many difficulties and challenges whilst working during this period.  Nicola was able to facilitate difficult conversations with the residents family’s helping to keep in touch those who could not be beside their loved ones as they died.

Nicola kept us all up to date with the state of events as they unfolded within our local care home community in order to inform our on-call service, who continued to provide “hands on care” out of hours.  Nicola worked tirelessly keeping our local care homes supported with expert palliative care, additionally helping to care for the staff emotionally and psychologically throughout this extremely difficult period.

Jane says

I entered Nicola for this award as I am very proud of her as an individual and for the service she provided throughout an extremely difficult period.  She simply carried on with her usual dogged determination, her humour and resilience.  This award is truly deserved not only on a personal basis for Nicola and her family but for all of us at Hospice of The Valleys we are absolutely delighted and extremely proud of our Nic.

You can watch Nicola receiving her award below:


On receiving the award Nicola said

“I am very honoured to be receiving this award, and I am proud of all the hard work provided by the staff at the Hospice of the Valleys, especially our nursing and care home community colleagues.”