A senior nurse who’s in the running for a top award has paid tribute to her son for supporting her throughout her career

Julie Beresford, senior nurse at Pendine Park’s Bodlondeb care home in Wrexham, said her son, Josh, 38, has been with her ‘every step of the way’.

She said: “I feel he has helped me so much over the years that any recognition I receive is as much his as it is mine. There were times when he was younger, aged about 15 or 16, when I might be late home and he would have to get his own tea, or do housework but he never complained. He always got behind me whatever I was doing.”

Julie divorced when Josh was eight and worked hard to fit her nursing hours and subsequent college studies around his education and their home life.

She said: “It was hard at times but somehow we managed. We supported each other no matter what and have a really close bond.”

Now aged 70 and still at the top of her profession, Julie has been shortlisted for an Independent Sector Nurse of the Year accolade at the Wales Care Awards 2022 – dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of social care.

Supported by lead sponsor Ontex UK, and organised by care industry champions Care Forum Wales, the awards celebrate exceptional work.

The winners of gold, silver and bronze will be announced at a glittering ceremony which all those shortlisted are invited to attend at Cardiff City Hall on Friday, October 21, with the event being streamed live online.

The host for the evening will be popular tenor, Wynne Evans, aka Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV advertisements.

Julie, of Coedpoeth, is immensely looking forward to the occasion.

She was nominated for nurse of the year by Bodlondeb manager Ann Chapman who praised Julie’s unfaltering work ethic and dedication to training newcomers.

Julie was the go-to staff member called on to train a number of nurses from overseas recently recruited by Pendine Park.

She said: “They’re all qualified, highly capable nurses but ways of working can be different between countries so it’s important to train them up in UK techniques.”

Ann said Julie is hugely respected by fellow nursing staff and Bodlondeb care practitioners who know they can always approach her for advice.

She has been at Bodlondeb 11 years but worked with Pendine Park earlier in her career before taking a break to train as a teacher and study child psychology, social psychology and mental health care.

She now passes on to others her knowledge and skills acquired over years of experience.

Julie said: “I knew I was meant to be a nurse from an early age when I volunteered with hospital radio.

“I saw patients coming and going and instinctively felt I wanted to help care for them. I trained as a general nurse but after time I decided to go back to college.

“I had a plan to train as a social worker but it wasn’t for me. I missed my patients and hands on nursing.”

Her teaching skills came in useful, however, on joining the care team at Bodlondeb where she is greatly relied on to develop care plans for residents and train novices in care planning.

Ann said: “Julie has always been pro-active. She converted 68 residents’ care plans to our new and streamlined system, liaising with key personnel. She developed workshops for staff to better understand various roles and outcomes for individuals, and she has supported novices with no former care planning training, developing them until they can understand and use care plans.”

Away from work Julie enjoys swimming, keep fit and walking her dog. These days she works part time but has no plans to quit and has just re-registered for another three years nursing.

She said: “I love my job. Working at Bodlondeb is so rewarding. As long as I’m fit and still contributing to the team, I’ll keep going as long as I can.”

Mario Kreft MBE, Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the aim of the Wales Care Awards was to recognise the unstinting and remarkable dedication of unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.

He said: “The social care sector is full of wonderful people like Julie because it’s not just a job, it’s a vocation – these are people who go the extra mile for others.

“During the Covid crisis, this fantastic workforce rose magnificently to the challenge, putting their own lives on the line to do everything they possibly could to safeguard the people for whom they provide care.

“Unfortunately, it has taken a global pandemic for many other people to realise how important and how significant our social care workforce is.

“Their incredible contribution was summed up best in the powerful and emotive words of the song, Heroes of our Heart, written by the acclaimed poet Mererid Hopwood and sung by Sir Bryn Terfel, which was set to the famous tune of Men of Harlech. The message that the diolch should last forever is one that we should never forget.

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

“All the nominees deserve to be lauded and applauded and it’s a real pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists.

“I congratulate all the individuals who have shown outstanding dedication and professionalism. Every one of them should be proud of their achievement.

“They are Wales’s finest.”