Health visitors scoop national awards

Two health visitors from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust have picked up national awards for their outstanding contribution to community care in Oldham and Trafford.

Karen Heggs, 38, a health visitor in Trafford, was awarded the Student of the Year Award 2015 at the Community Practitioner and Health Visitor Association (CPHVA) Awards ceremony at the Oxo Tower Wharf, London, on Friday 27 March, 2015.

Her colleague, Cath Nixon, 31, picked up the prestigious Community Practitioner of the Year Award for her outstanding contribution to community care in Oldham and volunteer work overseas. 

The CPHVA awards aim to recognise the exceptional work of dedicated Community Practitioners and Health Visitors across the UK and beyond.

Cath Nixon

Cath, who has been a health visitor for five years, was nominated by her colleagues for being “selfless, courageous and caring”. She returned to work as a health visitor in Oldham 2014 after spending two years working with women and children in Nepal, setting up clinics and influencing health practices. More recently, Cath spent some time over the Christmas period volunteering as a nurse at the Save the Children Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone.

Cath said: "I feel honoured to have been named Community Practitioner of the Year. Over the past few years I have thoroughly enjoyed using my health visiting skills to work internationally with communities in improving women's health rights and involving village women in decision-making. I am delighted that this award raises the profile of women's rights and the important work that we as practitioners can do in creating a fairer and more equal world."

Caroline Drysdale, Oldham Community Services Director at Pennine Care, said: “Cath is a fantastic health visitor supporting families in Oldham. Her dedication to volunteering in some incredibly difficult circumstances to improve the lives of others is something that is hugely deserving of an award and all of Cath’s colleagues at Pennine Care are very proud of her achievements.”

Karen Heggs

Karen, who qualified a health visitor in January 2015 following training at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, was nominated by her colleagues for being “a warm and caring person” who supported fellow students on the health visiting course with their personal difficulties while maintaining a high level of dedication to her studies.

Karen was commended for developing her leadership skills and her ability to manage complex interactions with the families she works with and supports.

Karen said: “I was delighted and honoured to be nominated and shortlisted for this award. It comes at the end of what was a challenging but very rewarding year. I am proud to work as a Health Visitor and look forward to my new role in Trafford. I want to thank the teams I worked with in Salford during my training and my Practice Teachers - Zoe Ralph and Cathy Phillips. I would also like to thank the excellent team at University of Bolton for their guidance and support.”

Jan Trainor, Head of Trafford Health Visiting and School Nursing Services at Pennine Care, said: “Karen’s dedication to her health visiting studies demonstrates her passion for the profession. She is an excellent health visitor who is committed to supporting Trafford families and we feel very lucky to have her on our team.”