A Ward Sister, at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, has been awarded as January’s RJAH Star winner for her commitment to ensuring the Trust did their bit to support with system pressures throughout the busy festive period.

Gemma Sweetman, a Nurse on Sheldon Ward, the general medicine and rehabilitation ward at the Oswestry-based hospital, ensured that RJAH delivered on its winter pressures commitment to the wider system and to guarantee that we were open for business-as-usual in the New Year.

It remains a challenging time for health and care services, and the festive period is another difficult one for urgent and emergency care services across Shropshire, Telford, and Wrekin. In a bid to support system partners, RJAH fully utilised available beds during the Christmas period to create some extra capacity for flow across the system.

Her efforts were recognised by Paul Kavanagh-Fields, Chief Nurse and Patient Safety Officer, and Nicki Bellinger, Assistant Chief Nurse, who nominated her to be an RJAH Star.

Paul said: “We are so proud of the amazing leadership demonstrated by Gemma and her Team to ensure the best outcomes for every single patient across Sheldon and Kenyon Wards over the festive period.

“During Gemma’s work with the Intergrated Discharge Team (IDT) Hub, her tenacity and energy were infectious, she really went the extra, extra, extra mile and worked over and above what was expected of her to ensure that RJAH delivered on its winter pressures commitment to the wider system and to ensure that we were open for business-as-usual week beginning 8 January 2024.

“Everyone is talking about how amazing she has been.”

Nicki added: “When RJAH opened its sub-acute medical ward to provide mutual aid to the system Gemma volunteered to oversee the ward. She worked with enthusiasm and dedication to assess, plan and evaluate the care delivered to her patients.

“She worked collaboratively with system partners to ensure that patients were discharged to an appropriate place of care with the right care packages in a time of extreme pressure. She facilitated the safe discharge of all the patients within the agreed timeframe to enable the ward to return back to an elective orthopaedic ward to the benefit of our patients.

“Gemma has demonstrated exemplar leadership and resilience though out this time.”

The monthly award is presented to unsung heroes from across the hospital who are nominated by their colleagues for going the extra mile.

Gemma said: “The Trust is in a privileged position during the festive period to help our system partners during a time where there is no planned elective surgery. The staff are proud of the level of patient care on Sheldon Ward and as a sub-acute unit.

“The standard of care delivered across both Sheldon and Kenyon wards were to the highest of standards and we’re also very proud of how Sheldon and Kenyon staff rose to the challenge of opening a second sub-acute ward in such a short time frame.”

She was presented her award, consisting of a keepsake certificate, a voucher, and box of chocolates donated by the League of Friends, by Stacey Keegan, Interim Chief Executive.

Stacey said: “Gemma put her all into coordinating the sub-acute medical ward and she has done an exceptional job supporting our system partners.

“She was a pivotal factor in meeting the deadline for the Trust to return to an elective orthopaedic ward and is a very worthy winner of the monthly RJAH Stars award.”