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Inspirational nurse shortlisted for national honour

​A nurse who works for the NHS trust which provides mental health and learning disability services across Norfolk and Suffolk has been shortlisted for a national award.

Sue Bridges, Professional Lead for Learning Disabilities / Autism at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), has been shortlisted in The Learning Disability Nurse Award category of The National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards 2018.

News of her success has been announced on the first day of Learning Disability Week, which runs 18 - 24 June.

Sue is a Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities (RNLD) with more than 30 years’ experience in learning disabilities. Her post was created in 2015 to ensure NSFT provides the most appropriate services to meet the needs of people with a learning disability and / or autism.

“I watch the Tweets each year from the awards and The Learning Disability Nurse Award is very prestigious and the nominees so incredible in what they have achieved,” she said.

“I didn’t think for a minute I would be shortlisted so I am incredibly proud to have been nominated and to reach the final.”

She was nominated for The Learning Disability Nurse Award by Gemma Grace, a former service user who has autism, who felt strongly that the work Sue has done to improve services for people with autism was worthy of such an accolade, and also by Heidi McKay, NSFT Modern Matron and Head of Clinical Practice.

Gemma, who lives in Ipswich, said: “Sue understands me for the person I am, and treats me as a person, not a medical label. She makes me feel valued.

“She is a very motivated person who goes above and beyond her job title and is always available, either by email or phone.”

Gemma and Heidi will both be joining Sue at The ICC in Birmingham next week (29 June) where the winners of the England-wide awards will be announced.

Heidi said Sue’s passion and commitment to make a difference has been enthusiastically received by service users, carers and staff.

“Sue’s approachable nature, expertise and sheer dedication has placed her firmly at the forefront of leading our learning disability and autism quality improvement plan,” she said.

Dawn Collins, NSFT’s Interim Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Safety, said: “As a direct result of Sue’s inspirational leadership skills, she has hugely improved the experience of our service users and deserves this national recognition.”

Sue is based in Endeavour House, Ipswich, but her role takes her across both counties where her responsibilities include offering clinical advice, delivering training to staff and liaising with partner organisations.

The National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards celebrate excellence in the support for people with learning disabilities and aim to pay tribute to those individuals or organisations who excel in providing quality care.

The Learning Disability Nurse Award acknowledges the important role that specialist nurses have in promoting the emotional, physical and psychological health of the people they support.

Category winners from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will go through to the UK final in the autumn.

NSFT has also been shortlisted in The Employer Award category for the high quality care it provides to people with learning disabilities and / or autism.

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