06 October 2020

Congratulations to Theona Madure, winner of RCN London Rising Stars Award 2020

Staff Nurse, Theona Madure, who works at Blackheath Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre, has won a RCN London Rising Star Award 2020.  She was nominated for the prestigious award by Blackheath’s Head of Nursing, Ashley Honeyman.  Theona has been a nurse for 15 years. Prior to joining The Huntercombe Group four years ago she worked in a secure unit and also spent time working in the community with people with learning disabilities.  We spent some time with Theona to find out more about her role and how she felt about winning this award. 

What is the award and why do you think you were nominated for this award?

The award is the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) London Black History Month Rising Stars 2020 award.  I believe the award is about leadership and empowerment, so I think that’s the reason I was nominated. Leadership is essentially about having good communications skills, good interpersonal skills, and good team working. Those three key points sum up good leadership to me. I feel honoured by the nomination, just to be recognized that I’m doing a good job and getting this kind of feedback from your manager is amazing.

How does good communication assist you in your practice?

Good communication in this environment starts from the minute we receive a handover from another shift, before going out on the floor. You need to allocate staff, be aware of what else is happening on the floor, be knowledgeable and up-to-date with information regarding your patients, you need to be open to suggestions, be a good team leader. I am aware that I am not always right and others can have better ideas than me.  But for me it’s important to lead by doing, I try to lead by example.

What does your role involve?

Our role is about promoting independence with our patients. So, independence for me starts when a patient wakes up. Orientating them to time, place and person is always our first starting point. Identifying and attending to our patients’ activities of daily living for things like: personal care, evidence-based care planning, all nursing interventions, and ensuring risk assessments are discussed and completed involving the patient and the multi-disciplinary team. So, when I cover the floor, I can do this confidently as I know my patients. I always put the patient at the forefront of everything that I do. I don’t lead just by sitting. I am noted for being very hands on practitioner!  When I’m working on the ward I have several different roles:  a leadership role, a teaching role, and an educator role. They are all very different and this only goes to enhance my nursing practice. Working here is a two way street you get back what you put in !

What do you like about working here at Blackheath?

For me the best thing about working here is seeing a patient in recovery. When they initially arrive they are very unwell, but through the individual programmes designed for our patients by the multi-disciplinary team, I witness their progress until the day they leave. Our job as nurses is even better now because we have further support from our senior rehabilitation assistants (SRAs), a newly created role. We now have SRA’s that are extremely skilled and who have been supported to undertake courses that empower them to have a greater interest in the caring profession, namely the Care Certificate. Some have now progressed on to apprenticeships in brain injury which further supports me in my role.  Blackheath is definitely a place where you can learn and develop and progress as a professional at your own pace and you are definitely encouraged to be the best practitioner you can be.  Whatever your role, you feel valued and incredibly supported by the management and all the other disciplines that are part of our multi-disciplinary team. I believe that our management team are supporting us to become future leaders.

Why is patient engagement so important?

Patient engagement is especially important to us as nurses.  When we are working with our patients on a 1-2-1 basis, we can spend time building our therapeutic relationship with them.  By directly involving our patients in their own care, we can then develop their care plans. A priority to me is our patients’ cultural diversity.  It is so important to look at patients’ cultural needs because if these are not identified, discussed and supported, it can impact on their mental and physical well-being. We need to take the time to understand our patients and with that understanding, help in their journey of recovery.  I always use a holistic approach to care. This was introduced to me whilst I was on my nurse training and it’s one of those things that has stuck with me. It’s an approach that I teach my staff to embrace. I like to use the biological, psychological and social models of intervention with every patient encounter, as this has always proved to be an all-inclusive approach which is evidenced based.

What does it feel like to have won the award?

To be honest I am so flattered, honoured and humbled because for me, to be singled out from so many excellent colleagues was on its own something really big.  I now feel even more motivated. I had absolutely no idea that I had been nominated for this award, but am very happy that I have been. I would like to thank my manager Jo Taylor and  Head of Nursing, Ashley Honeyman, for the nomination and their continued positive feedback and support for me.  Winning this award is the icing on the cake and for me it feels like we are all winners, so well done team!

What does the future hold for you now?

A lot of people have asked me why I still work on the ward and my response is always ‘I love being on the ward’. I feel really lucky as I feel I have found my niche within the nursing profession. When I first started nursing, nursing was all about being on the ward and that has always stayed with me, and I feel now as passionately as I did then about direct patient care. I feel comfortable and productive in this environment. I am incredibly patient-focused but am also very focused on my colleagues and their education.

My colleagues and I have recently completed the Pan London Practice Learning Group units of study to make us Practice Supervisors.   I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge with student nurses from Kings College London who will now be able to visit us on placement and most definitely to learning from them!

Any top tips for anyone new to the nursing profession?

You need to be compassionate and love what you are doing. If you do not love the job that you are doing it will be difficult for you to undertake your role.  You also need to observe and learn from the more experienced people on the floor and learn from each other regardless of grade. We all have great ideas! It’s important to listen !

Article by Paul Chesnaye, Practice Development Nurse, Blackheath Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre