Dedicated Lancashire nurse honoured with top award

A dedicated nurse has been honoured with the national Chief Nursing Officer Award at an event to mark International Nurses’ Day.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 4:55 am

Maria Nelligan chief nursing officer at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, was taken by surprise when the top accolade was presented to her virtually by chief nursing

officer for NHS England, Ruth May.

While Maria had been involved in the meticulous planning of the event, she was unaware that her colleagues had been secretly working behind the scenes on the surprise.

Maria Nelligan
Maria Nelligan

Maria, who was has clocked up more than 30 years as a hard working nurse, said: “To receive the Chief Nursing Officer Award really does mean such a lot to me.

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“I have long said that being a nurse is a fantastic privilege – one I am incredibly proud of.

“I have enjoyed a fantastic career and a fantastic personal life – meeting my husband while I was training to be a nurse. My daughter is also in her last year as a student nurse – we like to

Maria Nelligan

call it the family business!

“I’m bowled over and so delighted that Ruth took the time to present the award – it really has been some year!”

Guest speaker Andrea Sutcliffe, chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, was also at the event on Tuesday.

Caroline Donovan, chief executive at the Trust, nominated Maria for the award – honouring her ‘outstanding career’ with the NHS.

She said: “Maria has been a learning disability nurse for more than 30 years – demonstrating tremendous drive, energy and enthusiasm throughout her nursing career.

“Maria has always championed a collaborative approach with service users and the voluntary and private sectors – she has been driven by continuously improving care for those who need

it.

“It was very apt that she should receive this award during our very first Thank You Week – honouring the efforts of all of our incredible staff during the Covid pandemic.”

Maria’s impressive leadership led her to becoming executive director of nursing and quality at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust (NSCHT) in 2015. There, she helped to

inspire the nursing workforce to deliver high quality, person centred care and contributed to NSCHT going from ‘Requiring Improvement’ by CQC to ‘Outstanding.’

She moved to Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust in 2019 to support the transformation of the Trust.

Ruth May told Maria at the event: “I know that you are the driving force behind a number of really important initiatives and one thing that is often described about you is your dynamic

leadership – I absolutely know that is true.

“For me, it is also your passion for improving lives – particularly for those with learning disabilities – thank you!”

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