THE family who nominated the winning nurse for Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital’s hospital hero award have told how she is their angel.
Clare McGuire scooped the coveted hospital hero award at the annual BTUH Excellence Awards, which was held on Tuesday 28 June at Holiday Inn, Basildon.
Kindly supported by UNISON the category was the only award for which patients and their families could nominate staff members. There were over 60 touching and heartfelt entries, praising staff and describing the wonderful care they had received, and the judging panel had a tough time deciding the winner.
Clare was nominated by Nikki Storey and her sister Julia for the support and care she gave to her mum, Mary, at the end of her life.
Nikki explains: “Clare turned up at the darkest of times like a little angel. She looked after mum and she looked after all of us. We will never be able to tell her how grateful we are.”
Nikki’s mum had long term problems with her kidneys, but it was actually persistent bleeding that caused her to be admitted to Basildon University Hospital on Tuesday 17 November.
Tests showed there was a blockage in her lower bowel, and further investigations later revealed that she had womb cancer. The family, husband Michael, Nikki and Julia, were called into the hospital on a Sunday 22 November to be told the devastating news that there was nothing more medical staff could do.
Nikki said: “It doesn’t register in your brain, news like that. I’ll never forget my dad’s face as the penny dropped and he realised what they were saying. But mum was calm when the doctor told her. She said she knew she wouldn’t be coming out this time. She was so brave.”
Mary was moved to a side room and Nikki and her sister Julia stayed with her as they processed the news. Nikki added: “There was no way we were leaving her alone. We stayed with her until the end. The next morning we were told the end of life care team were visiting and that’s when it really hits you and you realise what is happening.
“And Clare arrived and her lovely calm voice and just the calm way about her, instantly made an awful situation feel slightly more bearable. She spoke to mum and us like she had known us forever. She answered any questions we had. She’d give us a hug if we needed it. It was just so reassuring to know that someone was there we could rely on.
“It felt like her sole focus was making sure we were ok. She instantly made mum more comfortable, mum trusted her. She was there for every member of the family. She made a horrible clinical situation feel more human, calm and friendly.”
When Mary did pass away on Saturday 28 November, the family leaned on Clare for support. Nikki added: “I don’t know how we would have got through it without her. She went above and beyond. It’s an amazing thing to be able to do, to come in and make a complete nightmare of a situation, slightly less so. It takes a very special person. She really is our angel, and always will be.”
Mary was 78 when she died. She was married to Michael for 57 years and they lived in Pitsea, watching their beloved family expand. Mary and Michael have two daughters, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
One of Nikki’s final memories of Mary was taking her in her wheelchair to Matalan to pick out Christmas presents for the grandchildren. Nikki said: “She just lived for her family and those presents are treasured now.”
Clare said she was honoured to be nominated, let alone win the coveted Hospital Hero award. She said: “I am truly touched that such a lovely family took the time to think of me and submit this nomination. I was so shocked when my name was called out at the awards evening, and it has been lovely walking around the hospital and being congratulated by my colleagues.
“At the end of the day, I was doing my job, supporting a family in the process of losing their beloved wife and mum. I am sure every nurse would have done the same in this position. But it is still really nice to be recognised for the job that you do.”