Royal College of Nursing award for Esther

Sonja McIlfatrick, Ulster University and Esther Beck who won the Nursing Research Award.
Sonja McIlfatrick, Ulster University and Esther Beck who won the Nursing Research Award.

Islandmagee woman Esther Beck has won a Nursing Research Award.

The award, sponsored by Ulster University, was presented by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) at the Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Awards 2019 held last week in the Culloden Hotel, Holywood.

Esther’s research examined the experiences of health professionals and carers of people with dementia in relation to advance care planning in nursing homes, which involves discussion about the future wishes of the patient in all aspects of care.

The research involved a survey of home managers, interviews and focus groups.

Esther found that people with dementia are often not involved in discussions about advance care planning and their ability to contribute to these decisions is limited. Families often lack the knowledge and insight needed to make informed decisions.

Esther concluded there is an urgent need to increase public awareness of the benefits of advance care planning.

She also highlighted the importance of placing the person with dementia at the centre of decision-making and has developed a comprehensive range of recommendations.

The judging panel commended Esther’s passion and knowledge, along with her “unrelenting focus to promote person-centred care”.

Commenting on the awards, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland, Pat Cullen, said: “The problems confronting our health and social care services are well-documented.

“However, we are fortunate to have nurses in Northern Ireland whose skills and expertise are in demand across the world. We need to ensure that these same nurses feel supported, recognised and valued for the excellent care they provide to the people of Northern Ireland.

“This is the 23rd year of the Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Awards which have highlighted some of the best examples of nursing practice.

“Despite the challenges, nurses continue to be committed to transforming and improving services and care for patients. Congratulations to all of our winners, who are a credit to the nursing profession.”