30 July 2021

Chief Nursing Officer’s award praises ‘true ambassador for nursing’

Jyoti With Award CroppedA nurse, who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and spearheaded effective infection prevention control measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been described as a 'true ambassador for nursing, who should be cloned and put into every organisation.'

Jyoti Sharma, who joined Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust just before the pandemic in 2020, as the Head of Infection Prevention Control (IPC), has been awarded the coveted Gold Chief Nursing Officer's Award in recognition for her outstanding contribution to keeping staff and patients safe throughout the pandemic.

Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England, Hillary Garrett, joined AWP's Trust Board meeting on Thursday 29th July, where she presented Jyoti with a Gold Chief Nursing Officer's Award. She thanked Jyoti for her outstanding leadership and said: "You joined the Trust at the start of COVID, you came in and hit the ground running. The way you gathered evidence about infection prevention and control in an environment where people were really vulnerable and developed an environment for socialisation not isolation is exceptional. You are a role model for us all and we need to clone you and put you in every organisation. Thank you and well done."

When Jyoti joined AWP, it was her first position within a mental health and learning disability provider and she quickly adapted to the new organisation and the challenges posed by COVID-19.

She developed excellent working relationships with ward staff, senior clinicians, Public Health England and Executive Directors and joined the Trust's Incident Co-ordination Centre Team, establishing an on call rota to ensure staff had access to infection prevention control advice around the clock.

Speaking about the award, Jyoti said: "I am really surprised to receive this award and feel quite humble about it. I am extremely fortunate to have a very supportive team behind me, who helped me understand the complexities of a large organisation, so that I could concentrate on ensuring our staff and patients were as safe as possible. Many of the wards and environments I worked on throughout the pandemic were not designed for social distancing and some of our patients don't have capacity to understand infection prevention control measures, so it has been a huge challenge to develop creative solutions for our patients, particularly those with learning disabilities and dementia."

Jyoti utilised her IPC professional networks here in the UK and from around the world to keep informed and share learning with IPC colleagues.

Julie Kerry, Director of Nursing at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, said: "Jyoti has demonstrated outstanding nursing leadership across the Trust from ward staff through to our senior leadership team. Her clinical expertise, ability to listen, communicate, consider, adapt and apply information has enabled the development of effective IPC measures across the organisation.

"A number of our teams were understandably anxious about the virus and the wearing of unfamiliar PPE. Jyoti lead from the front by working in wards with teams to review their ward layouts and ways of working, role modelling IPC measures. She has displayed incredible leadership throughout the pandemic and I am extremely proud of the way she has helped to keep our staff and patients safe during this incredibly difficult time."

Jyoti also developed a series of COVID-19 related IPC online teaching modules for staff to view and familiarise themselves with the additional requirements and she played a key role in ensuring effective cohorting of patients, which resulted in the rapid implementation of a new admission pathway, supporting and balancing COVID-19 and clinical risks.

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