A WOMAN’S enduring nursing career has been recognised by her receiving a coveted award at the Wales social care ‘Oscars’.
Sharon Ainsley began working as a nurse in the 1970s and is still going strong today, being employed as a registered general nurse at Cwrt Enfys in Ystradgynlais, in the Swansea Valley.
Her passion for nursing was celebrated at this year’s Wales Care Awards, run by Care Forum Wales.
Sharon, 62, was presented with the silver award in the Excellence in Palliative and End of Life Care category, sponsored by Hallmark Care Homes.
She regularly draws upon her vast nursing experience to help younger members of staff in their professional development, while she has also made a big impression in the sensitive manner she approaches end of life care.
“When I started in nursing more than 40 years ago I never imagined I would still be in it now,” said Sharon, who has no plans to retire in the near-future.
“But I still find it to be a rewarding role and I’m very happy. I don’t think care itself has changed in my career, it is more that certain things have changed such as technology.”
Her lengthy career has included spending 20 years at the Prince Philip Hospital in her home town of Llanelli.
She has spent the past three years working at Cwrt Enfys, which is part of the SilverCrest Group.
Sharon has received praise from colleagues for her compassionate and caring nature during end of life care, as well as her desire to make the experience as positive as possible for residents and their families.
She identified the need for a family consulting room at the home and it has now been created after an office area was converted.
It means families have a warm and lovely space, during what can be a very difficult and sad time.
“The relatives of residents are very important and the consulting room is for them,” said Sharon.
“I do not want them to feel like they are waiting in a hospital corridor, of it being cold and clinical.
“The room is family-orientated and I just want to help the relatives.”
Sharon’s vast experience means she regularly offers advice to younger members of staff and conducts teaching sessions with them.
She continues to monitor potential developments, with the Six Steps to Success programme being trialed at the home in a bid to further improve end of life care.
Sharon is not the only member of her household who plays an important role at the home.
She is regularly accompanied by her miniature dachshund Bebe, also known as Blodwyn, who acts as a therapy dog and helps brighten up the lives of the residents.
Sharon’s endeavours led to her being nominated for the Wales Care Awards and making the final shortlist.
At the glitzy ceremony at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday, October 18, she discovered she had won the silver award when it was announced by Cheryl Wanklyn, operations director of Hallmark Care Homes.
The award was presented to Sharon by Victoria Lloyd, chief executive of Age Cymru, with tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans – best known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV adverts – hosting the night’s events.
Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the standard of entries was extremely high.
He added: “There are only winners here tonight, so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.
“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights and in the months and years to come.
“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.
”We take our hats off to them.”