Newcastle-based Nurse wins Mona Grey Award for outstanding achievements in professional development at the RCN Impact Awards 2021

15 October 2021

RCN Foundation Impact Awards

Joy Okpala Okol, of Tyne Grange care home in Newcastle Upon Tyne, has won the Mona Grey Award for outstanding achievements in professional development, at this year’s Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Foundation Impact Awards.

Joy was awarded a grant from the RCN Foundation towards the completion of the Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research at Newcastle University, and has completed the course with merit.

The RCN Foundation gives grants to support the continuing professional development of those involved in nursing and midwifery with the aim of enhancing patient care. 

In 2019, Joy applied for a grant to complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research at Newcastle University. Following a panel interview, Joy was awarded the grant and started her research focusing on care for people living with a stoma.

Joy has completed the course with merit, and was presented the Mona Grey Award by the foundation at a virtual awards ceremony on 14 October 2021.

The course has empowered Joy to become an evidence-based practice champion, which requires the integration of best research evidence, individual clinical expertise, and patient choice.

This was particularly important in the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as she was able to use these skills to improve BAME patient recruitment into various trials through disseminating evidence and education.

The grant has enabled Joy to fulfil her dream of attaining a specialist research qualification and has paved the way for her to become increasingly involved in clinical research.

Joy shares: “This award means so much to me. It showcases the recognition of the hard work and dedication I put into the research. It also means that the contribution of people from BAME groups in the nursing professional is appreciated and recognised.

“As a Nurse who entered the profession with a masters degree in nursing, I have always believed in evidence-based practice backed up with the latest clinical findings. This was what attracted me to the research course.

“The knowledge and skills obtained from this course has helped me to provide the best quality care to the service users at Tyne Grange. I have also been able to inspire Nurses from the BAME staff network to dream big and seek out opportunities to pursue research and clinical academic careers.

“I’d also like to thank the RCN Foundation. Having this bursary meant that I could do the course without the financial struggles, as I have a young family to care for.”

Watch Joy's acceptance speech on YouTube

Nursing careers in social care

Working as a Nurse with Exemplar Health Care is an extremely rewarding role. 

As a Nurse in one of our care homes, you’ll work with like-minded colleagues, as part of a multi-disciplinary team, to provide the highest standards of nursing care for our residents who are living with complex needs. 

Our Nursing/Health Care Assistant ratio is amongst some of the best in the UK, with our average ratio being six Health Care Assistants to every Nurse. 

Visit our job search to search for nursing jobs near you.