A DEDICATED nurse whose innovative approach has helped transform not just the running of a hospital but also the lives of its patients has been nominated for a top award.

Claire Wilson, who works as the Clinical Lead at Pinetree Hospital in Rumney, Cardiff, which helps people with learning disabilities and mental health issues, has been named as a shortlisted finalist at the prestigious Wales Care Awards, known as the social care Oscars.

The 46-year-old from Miskin successfully combines her career as an ‘essential and invaluable’ part of the hospital team with a hectic personal life in which she cares for her sister who has a spinal injury, as well as having a teenage son with autism.

This has resulted in Claire, who is originally from Bridgend, being in the running for the Independent Sector Nurse of the Year Award, sponsored by Ontex UK, after being nominated by Pinetree Hospital manager Sarah House

The awards are organised by Care Forum Wales and this year’s ceremony, which will be hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads, takes at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday, October 18.

Claire, who has worked at Pinetree Hospital since 2012, said: “It was a shock when I found out. I was overwhelmed, I couldn’t believe it!

“I think there are more worthy people but at the same time I appreciate someone going to the trouble of putting me forward.

“The reason for it is the team. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the team, they’re amazing.

“I love my job. The goal is to integrate people back into the community. To see them go back to their homes or into supported care and then having the families thanking you and sending cards – that’s what I get the gratification from.

“What drives me is to see people making progress and leading more independent lives with minimal support. I also work closely with the families and it makes me happy when they see the progression of their family member.

“I have a very supportive family outside of work who are very caring and understating about my dedication to the role and the time I spend in work. I am very lucky to have such a loving family”.

As well as overseeing the introduction of a new computerised medication system and being responsible for all clinical aspects of the hospital operation, Claire has also established first aid training for both staff and patients as well as an activities committee to make sure service users have access to a range of engaging, healthy and creative activities every day.

Hospital manager Sarah House says creating the activities committee has given patients ‘greater independence’ and a ‘new lease of life’.

“I like to be involved in everything”, joked Claire. “I’m very passionate about the first aid training. I’ve always wanted to work alongside the patients and share my skills with them as well as the staff.

“The main aim of delivering the training to the patients was to ensure they have confidence and skills to support them should they ever need to call on these skills in an emergency situation. It was also about confidence building, training participation and working as a team to complete the training.

She added: “I meet with the patients every 4-6 weeks to discuss activities and how these can be supported safely through risk assessment, staffing and finances.

“They have a timetable of activities planned in the week but the theme coming through was that they were bored at weekends.

I worked with the staff and patients to look at building in more personalised weekend activities into individual planners based on their likes, dislikes and strengths and made sure appropriate staffing was available to facilitate. Patients have been supported to attend theme parks, beach visits, concerts, shows and local trips to the cinema and bowling.

On nominating Claire, Pinetree Hospital manager Sarah House said she had ‘transformed the hospital significantly’ since taking on the role of clinical lead two years ago.

She added: “As part of her current role Claire is absolutely essential and invaluable to the daily running of Pinetree Hospital.

“Despite her being relatively new to the role, she has fundamentally overhauled the hospital and set new standards of excellence in practice.

“She has been crucial in implementing robust clinical practices, training both nurses and doctors, and updating the recording of medication to create a more effective and efficient system.

“She has been nominated by myself as she has excelled within her role over the last two years and made hugely beneficial changes to the running of Pinetree.

“Claire has truly set the standard for service provision in every respect and we as an organisation have thrived thanks to her innovative and determined attitude.

“She is a truly essential member of the team, whose devotion, determination, and innovative thinking are exemplary, and we cannot praise her enough.”

Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.

He said: “The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.

“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.

“The care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job it’s a vocation – these are the people who really do have the X Factor.

“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognise the value of the people who need the care in society.

“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded.

“It is a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.”