CITY nurses united to enjoy a glamorous awards ceremony celebrating their hard work.
Medical professionals from Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham donned party gear as their loved ones joined them for the first Portsmouth Hospitals Nurse of the Year Awards on Friday night.
The glitzy bash, at the Marriott Hotel in Southampton Road, was the brainchild of city businessman Paul Thomas – who wanted a way to thank the nurses who came to his aid after he unknowingly broke his neck in an accident abroad in September.
Winners were plucked from 12 diverse categories, which recognised the efforts of staff right across QA’s hierarchy of nurses.
The first prize of the evening was the Registered Adult Nurse Award – which went to Gail O’Donnell.
Tellingly, on the night Gail and her peers were dubbed ‘the backbone of the NHS’, she was unable to make the ceremony because she was working at the time.
But her boss Ruth Carter, the head of nursing for surgery and cancer, was there to sing her praises.
Ms Carter said: ‘Gail started as a support worker for us and did her training through the Open University, before coming back to us as a qualified nurse.
‘She has dedicated her life to this and it’s so important that she had the recognition she deserves.’
Later in the evening – which coincided with International Nurses’ Day – Nastasa Consuela nabbed the Patients’ Choice Award.
Ms Consuela, 49, who until recently worked in QA’s respiratory centre, said: ‘I do not know who the patient who nominated me is, but it is an amazing feeling to be rewarded for our work.
‘Every day we do our very best and we try hard to give our patients the greatest care we can – they really are the heart of what we do.’
Announcing the night’s first two awards, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Mark Cubbon branded the work of the nurses ‘incredible’.
He added: ‘This is a big thing for us and it’s fantastic to celebrate all the things our nurses do, the lives they touch and the recognition they’ve earned to be nominated by their peers here.’
Reflecting on the event he brought together, Mr Thomas, 36, said: ‘In September I was blown away by QA’s nurses and support workers.
‘It’s great to give them a chance to let their hair down.’