Praise from Health Minister at Nurse of the Year Awards 

Date published: 16 June 2022

Health Minister Robin Swann this evening praised nurses for their valued contribution to the health service of Northern Ireland.

Health Minister Robin Swann and Chief Nursing Officer Maria McIlgorm at RCN Northern Ireland Nurse of the year awards

He was attending the Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year 2022 Awards ceremony in the Culloden Hotel, hosted by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The Health Minister paid tribute to all the nurses within the Health and Social Care (HSC) system. He said: “It is an honour to have the opportunity to personally commend the accomplishments of our nursing workforce.

“Many times I have shared my gratitude for the contribution you have made to Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care (HSC) system, particularly over the past 2 years in which services have had to be continually adapted in response to COVID-19, and you have all made a tremendous effort to do your job in exceptional circumstances.

“And despite the unprecedented pressures that you have faced in our fight against the virus, you have overcome these challenges and delivered some truly remarkable achievements. It is for this reason that events such as tonight are so important.

“As nurses, you are in a privileged position of making a difference to individuals and families lives every minute of every day, and tonight I am privileged to hear some examples.”

Chief Nursing Officer Maria McIlgorm paid tribute and praised the nursing and midwifery profession and acknowledged the exceptional contribution they make.

She said:  “As nurses and midwives you have shown such resilience and have continued to demonstrate this even more so during the past two years of the pandemic.  Your commitment to care has been outstanding any makes me very proud of you and our profession.

"Nursing remains the backbone of health and social care delivery and tonight reminds us all that across all age groups, nurses are champions of human experience and are crucial in leading improvements in the well-being of population by making a difference to the people of Northern Ireland and our health service would simply not be able to function without you.”

“You are making a difference to the people of Northern Ireland, because without their continued professionalism, determination and resilience our health service would simply not be able to function.”

Concluding the Health Minister said: “It is very clear to me from my engagements and interactions with nurses, nursing students, nursing assistants and midwives that your commitment to the people you serve is unfaltering.

“I want to take this opportunity to reiterate my support and commitment to you as a profession and recognise all of you that are nominated for the awards tonight for their outstanding accomplishments over the past year, but also I want to thank all nurses and midwives in our HSC for your steadfast and unwavering commitment to the vocation. You have a unique gift and this evening’s event demonstrates that. Be proud of your profession and of the service you provide.”


    Notes to editors: 

    1. This year’s event will be the 24th awards ceremony of The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year Awards to take place in the awards’ prestigious 26-year history and the first since pre-pandemic (previous ceremony held on 6 June 2019).
    2. The award ceremony was hosted by Sarah Travers.
    3. A full list of award winners is available from Lisa Holden, Media Officer, RCN, 07789691505
    4. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email
    5. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt
    6. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110

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