As many of you will know, I love to give credit to those who have either been nominated for awards and of course those who go on and win them.
So it gives great pleasure to recognise a pioneering nurse who won a national award for her care and treatment of very sick babies and support for their families.
Nikki Farrington, Neonatal Bereavement and Family Support Nurse at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), was named Neonatal Nurse of the Year by the Neonatal Nurses Association (NNA).
Nikki, a mum of one, 44, from Willenhall, received £1,000 to spend on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and a year’s membership of the NNA.
What I also like about this story is how it reflects on the organisation’s ability to retain good staff at a time when this is a challenge for so many in the NHS.
Nikki qualified from the Trust’s own School of Nursing in 2000 and has spent her entire career in neonatal. In 2019 she became the first Specialist Neonatal Bereavement Nurse in the region, and has been instrumental to the introduction of neonatal bereavement care for RWT.
Starting the role as a secondment – as historically this would have been carried out by a bereavement midwife – Nikki initially worked to support families, bringing in memory boxes.
She then implemented the National Bereavement Care Pathway standards of care, which the Trust signed up to achieve.
Nikki said she was overwhelmed but extremely honoured and privileged to win this prestigious national award.
She added: “I’m so proud to be part of paving the way nationally for the Neonatal Bereavement Care Specialism and hope this now becomes more recognised as being a vital role needed in all Level 3 Neonatal Units.
“I dedicate this award to all the bereaved families I’ve supported and to all the beautiful babies who were born too sick, too soon.
“We will be using the prize money to continue to provide specialist premature baby clothing and sibling books to our bereaved families and to add home-like touches to our overnight parent facilities.”
Nikki also set up a weekly teaching programme for neonatal staff using the links she has made in her role.
Dr Helen Moore, Neonatal Consultant at RWT, nominated Nikki. She said: “Thanks to Nikki, we now have a cold cot for use at home so parents who want to, can take their baby home after death.”
“Nikki continues to support parents after they have left the Neonatal Unit and ensures they have memory boxes and photographs if they wish.”
Dr Moore added: “I’m delighted for Nikki. I nominated her as I’m not sure she can see the impact she has.”
Nikki’s Neonatal Unit team also won the Healthcare Heroes: Clinical Team of the Year at the recent staff Royal Awards for supporting the family of a baby that died.
Well done Nikki!