15 March 2021

Learning disabilities nurse receives award for excellence

A newly qualified learning disabilities nurse has been recognised for her passion and dedication in supporting those she works with.Arzu 2021

Arzu Anderson has worked for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust for over 10 ten years in a variety of services, prior to completing her nurse training in August 2020.

At an online ceremony, Arzu received the Learning Disabilities Nursing Faculty Prize from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) for excellence demonstrated in both theory and practice as a learning disabilities student nurse.

Arzu, who is currently based at Blackberry Hill Hospital in Bristol, will shortly be joining the community learning disability team in Swindon, as a specialist practitioner. She said: "I am very pleased to receive this award in recognition of my hard work over the last few years. I have worked in services across AWP for the last 10 years and as a recently qualified learning disabilities nurse, I am keen to use my skills and experience to support people with learning disabilities to access the services they need. I am really grateful to the Trust for sponsoring me to undertake my nurse training, which will allow me to focus on an area I am really passionate about."

In October 2020, Arzu, who achieved a first class honours nursing degree and received four A-star grades during her placement, was also shortlisted for the Nursing Times Learning Disability Student of the Year award. This was for her work to develop a personalised tool for families and unregistered carers who support people with learning disabilities in community settings. The tool is designed to help identify deteriorations in physical health, so that families and carers can report and take appropriate action in a timely manner. This academic work, including a sample of the tool, is due to be published in the Learning Disabilities Practice Journal in March.

Julie Kerry, Director of Nursing and Quality, at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, said: "I would like to congratulate Arzu on winning this award. To have been recognised for her excellence as a learning disabilities nurse is fantastic news. We are always keen to support our staff to develop and progress their careers and Arzu is an excellent example of this."

Rakhee Aggarwal, Deputy Head of School for Health and Social Wellbeing at UWE Bristol, said: "We are very proud to have worked with a student whose care and compassion has been demonstrated extensively throughout her time with us. Learning disability nurses support people, in a creative, flexible manner, in their own homes, communities and specialist services, and we know she will continue to make a difference to lives and services."

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