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District Nurse awarded national Philip Goodeve Docker Memorial Prize

5th July 2023

Whilst studying for her Master’s Degree at Northumbria University, Newcastle District Nurse Georgia Hibbert has received a Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI) award for her outstanding performance.

Attaining a qualification at this level is always challenging whilst continuing clinical duties, however Georgia was noted in particular for excelling both clinically and academically during her studies and her supervisory tutors at Northumbria had no hesitation in nominating her for the QNI’s much coveted Philip Goodeve Docker Memorial Prize.

The academic prize is offered to the top performing student of the District Nursing SPQ programme in every university in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Georgia’s accomplishments were duly recognised by the QNI and she has been named as the nation’s top performing student of the District Nursing Specialist Practitioner Qualification programme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland this year.

On winning the Prize Georgia said: “I am truly honoured to have been selected from this year’s DNSPQ cohort at Northumbria University to receive this award. I was totally unaware that this award existed prior to my nomination, nonetheless, I am very thankful to my tutors and mentors for recognising the hard work that dedication that I have put into the past 18 months, which has now finally paid off! I am grateful for the opportunities I have received and hope to inspire future Community Nurses and DNSPQ Students alike.”

Of the nomination Kevin Murphy, Assistant Professor in Adult Nursing at Northumbria University said: “We are delighted to have nominated Georgia for this prestigious award from the Queens Nursing Institute, the esteemed Philip Goodeve Docker Memorial Prize, which is given to one student who demonstrates significant academic and clinical achievement in District Nursing practice as part of their District Nursing Specialist Practitioner Master’s Degree qualification.

“Georgia has consistently demonstrated outstanding levels of professionalism and dedication to her programme of study, achieving a distinction in her academic award. We would like to congratulate Georgia and the District Nursing team at the Newcastle Hospitals as this award reflects the formidable contribution that all those involved have made.”

No two days are ever the same

Georgia says she knows that community nursing may not be everyone’s cup of tea and that some feel it can lead to deskilling compared to working on a ward. She says in her view the opposite is true: “You never know what you will be dealing with from day to day which means you gain an abundance of new skills and knowledge. In the three and a half years since I qualified I’ve always felt like I’m constantly progressing. This is definitely a life-long career for me – it’s endlessly rewarding.”

Georgia started her career as a community staff nurse in 2019; around 12 months later a new development role became available for a Band 6 Junior District Nursing Sister. However, Georgia didn’t think she was ready to apply.

Senior colleague Joanne Meredith thought differently, encouraged her to apply and she was delighted to be successful. Around 9 months later a brand new DNSPQ Master’s qualification in District Nursing was established at Northumbria University, which would equip newly qualified District Nurses with Advanced Clinical Skills and Independent Prescribing. Once again Georgia was encouraged to apply and her outstanding performance led to her nomination for the QNI’s Philip Goodeve Docker Memorial Prize.

Equipped with her new Master’s Degree from Northumbria, Georgia qualified as a Band 7 District Nurse Practitioner / Nurse Prescriber in April. The role is split between looking after her own patients’ case-loads in specific GP localities and leading her teams caring for patients with more complex issues. These include palliative care needs such as overseeing the safe use of syringe drivers delivering anticipatory drugs to manage pain, nausea, agitation and respiratory secretions.

Collaborative working

Working in the community means collaborating as part of a wider team and Georgia enjoys good relationships with primary care colleagues, GPs and social care as they collectively decide on how to make the best decisions to meet their patients’ needs.

When asked what she would say to someone considering a career in community nursing Georgia says: “Absolutely give it a go. Nursing in the community is definitely the future as we see more and more people with health and social care needs, most of whom would really rather be supported at home than have to come into hospital. You get to build fantastic relationships with people who welcome you warmly into their homes and are so grateful for all that you do. It’s such a privilege – I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Northumbria University offers a variety of speciality nursing programmes and is currently ranked number one in the UK for children’s nursing according to The Guardian.

Ambitious plans for Northumbria’s flagship Centre for Health and Social Equity, which will be developed on the University’s City Campus, were recently announced following a £5.8 million award from the Office for Students. Its aim is to develop and harness the University’s research, education and knowledge exchange expertise to help meet the health and social equity issues of multiple stakeholders and communities in the city, region and beyond.

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