A WEST Wales nurse was one of five recognised for their work across Wales at an annual nursing conference.

Sandra Miles, professional practice development lead nurse at Hywel Dda University Health Board, was joined by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s advanced nurse practitioner Siji Salimkutty, Cwm Taf University Health Board’s registered mental health nurse and dementia liaison nurse Catherine Lowery, and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s Ceri Heard and Jane Dixon, both clinical nurse specialists from the palliative care nursing team, in picking up the Chief Nursing Officer’s Excellence Award.

They were all celebrated for their ‘exceptional contributions to the nursing workforce, inspiring others, and for making a real difference to people’s lives.’

The awards were presented at the annual Chief Nursing Officer for Wales Conference where the CNO for Wales – Sue Tranka – spoke about how enhancing the wellbeing of the professions through physical, emotional, work-life balance and fostering a supportive workplace culture is important as she starts her third year in the role.

She said: “Growing the workforce, investing in, and developing nurse and midwifery leaders at every level through formal and informal leadership programmes, was one of the priorities last year, to enable strong and effective leadership, and to consistently deliver high levels of care.

“We have to spot our talented workforce early on and develop successive leaders to champion change.

“I’m proud that we have supported more than 100 international nurses through a leadership programme so that they can meet the challenges of leading modern workforces and health systems.”

The leadership programmes provide opportunities for nurses and midwives to enhance their leadership skills and confidence through a supportive learning space, advice from mentor and individual leadership development plans so that they can influence and improve health and care services at local, national and international levels.

Ms Tranka added: “I have been witness to the unique contributions made by our teams across Wales, some of which are from our leadership scholars, whether through Welsh, UK or global programmes.

“You have taken up the mantle, embracing the responsibility to push boundaries, to break barriers and ceilings, to question established norms and to seek out to innovate solutions to address the challenges we face, here in Wales.”