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Earlier this year, Kent residents were asked to nominate the nurses, health visitors, therapists and healthcare workers who have gone the extra mile and provided them with the very best care.
These professionals are the people who step up and work beyond the call of duty, not because they have been asked to, but because it is who they are.
They are the KentOnline Community Heroes.
They have now been honoured and recognised for their exceptional service at Kent Community Healthcare NHS Trust’s annual staff awards.
Read on to hear about this year’s fantastic winners...
The miracle workers
Chris Taylor, Lisa Quincey and Michelle Boreham
Chris, Lisa and Michelle work as therapists in the Shepway Intermediate Care Team. They helped patient Mary Blanche, who has cerebral palsy and had recently had a lower leg amputation, get out of her wheelchair and walk again.
Mary said: “I was discharged from hospital following an above knee amputation. I was born with cerebral palsy and the amputation was on my good side so I was really worried that I would have to be a long-term wheelchair user and that this would mean I could not return home.
“Throughout my time at Broadmeadow Care Centre, I went from mostly using a wheelchair to walking with a frame, then two crutches, then sticks. I can now walk with one crutch. I am going home able to walk about the house and go upstairs.
"This means a great deal to me and I could not have achieved this without Chris, Lisa and Michelle.”
Suzie Jamieson, CLIC Sargent Specialist Children’s Community Oncology Nurse
When Maddie Warnock was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2011 at just four years old, her family were in for a never-ending cycle of appointments, treatments and anxiety.
Enter Suzie Jamieson, a specialist children’s cancer nurse.
Maddie’s mum, Nicky, said: “Suzie has been Maddie’s nurse since she was diagnosed and has been a huge part of our lives since. During this oncology journey you meet many new people, faces and medical experts but I must say only a special few will stay with you forever and Suzie is definitely one of those.
“Over the past two years we have had some real lows and whether it has been by visits, texts or phone calls, Suzie has been with us every step of the way" - Nicky Warnock
"From our first meeting Maddie took straight to her and the trust was evident from day one.
Many nasty procedures needed to be performed over an intensive period and Maddie would only ever let Suzie do these, which often meant she went out of her way to be present - even in her own time.
“Over the past two years we have had some real lows and whether it has been by visits, texts or phone calls, Suzie has been with us every step of the way.
"Not only as a support and friend to Maddie, but a real rock to me.
"I feel so blessed to have been given her as our nurse and don’t think I would have made it through this intact without her.
"I cannot praise her highly enough and she will never know how important she is to us and that I will keep her in my heart always as just a truly genuine, caring, thoughtful and fantastic nurse.”
Annette Martin, Wendy Smith, Karen Underdown, Sonia Kinnair, Vicky Towler and Rachel Ward
Annette, Wendy, Sonia, Karen, Vicky and Rachel are a mix of sexual health nurses and health improvement staff.
Last year, they were at a wellbeing network day in a village hall when one of their colleagues, who moments earlier had been chatting and laughing with them, collapsed and suffered a heart attack.
All these women would have had basic life support training, but their role rarely, if ever, requires them to put this into practice.
One of them had seen a basic defibrillator in another room and this was brought into action as they carried out life-saving measures.
One staff member stayed on the phone talking to the ambulance service while the others worked on the patient.
Nominator Ruth Herron said: “We are all immensely proud of them; they undoubtedly saved their colleague’s life.
"They really do reflect the resilience of many of our staff who when the need is there they adjust and adapt and get on with the job.
"I hope we would all be able to act with such professionalism if a similar situation arose.”
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