CHRISTMAS came early to a nurse in a Wrexham care home as she carried off two major industry awards for her compassion and dedication to duty.

Jocelyn De Guzman earned top honours in the Wales Care Awards, scooping gold in the Dignity in Care category sponsored by the Welsh government.

The 48 year-old, who works at Pendine Park’s Highfield Care Home in Wrexham, also received a bronze award in the Independent Sector ‘Nurse of the Year’ category backed by Ontex Healthcare.

The Oscars-style ceremony was staged at Cardiff City Hall and ‘Josie’ as she is known in the home, was cheered by staff and residents on her return.

“I was quite nervous about going to the event as I don’t look on myself as anything special, she said. “I treat people with kindness and respect, as if there were my relatives.

“There were so many worthy people there on the night and when they called my name twice, I couldn’t believe my ears and still feel a little shocked but also very proud. It made my Christmas and more to come.”

Jocelyn trained as a nurse in the Philippines and was taught English in school. She has perfected her language skills and even manages the odd Welsh phrase taught to her by residents.

She was nominated for an award by colleagues at Highfield where she has worked since coming to the UK in 2004. “I love the Welsh people and everyone in the home. They are like my family,” she added.

Her ‘compassion and commitment’ to caring for people with a wide range of physical disabilities has impressed them all and in 2010 she was promoted from registered nurse to Clinical Lead.

Nurse colleague Sue Bond said: “Everyone had their fingers crossed for Josie. She is so kind and committed. The residents love her and those who could got up to give her a hug and kiss. We’re all thrilled for her.”

In her younger years, Jocelyn nursed her grandparents in the Philippines and when they passed away she decided to move to the UK and follow her dream.

Hopes of a job in London were dashed when the application papers arrived too late and instead she applied for a job in Wales where, apart from the weather, she loves the way of life!

Manager of the 35-bed home Tracey Smith said Jocelyn was not one to ‘blow her own trumpet’ but was a role model who gave 100% commitment to delivering high standards of care.

She said: “Relatives make a bee line for her as they trust her to listen, support and act on their worries or concerns. She is first in, last out and just a lovely kind person.”

The care industry gongs recognise the dedication of unsung heroes working in the care industry across Wales.

Presenting Jocelyn’s gold was Assembly Member Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Children and Social Care.

MC for the evening was opera singer Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario in the Go Compare TV adverts. There were several high-profile sponsors including Ontex Healthcare and Barchester Jobs.

Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the standard of entries was extremely high.

He added: “There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.

“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights in the months and years to come.

“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.

“We take our hats off to them.”