Laura Tully wins ‘Practice Nurse of the Year’ award at the Irish Healthcare Awards 2017

Laura Tully, who is Institute Nurse and Health Centre Coordinator at Athlone Institute of Technology was awarded the Practice Nurse of The Year Award 2017 at the Irish Health Care Awards held at the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin on Thursday night last. Laura was nominated for the inaugural award by colleague Dr. Sarah G. Cuffe. The awards attracted entrants from all over the country and from all sectors of the health service. The Irish Healthcare Awards celebrate innovation, excellence and achievement in the Irish health system and recognise projects and individuals that have made a positive contribution to patient care.

Commenting on her award, Laura said, “I am really blown away. To have been one of the four nurses shortlisted was incredible and then to be selected as the winner is remarkable especially as the calibre of the other entries was so high. To be rewarded for doing a job you love is wonderful”.

With approximately 6,000 students at AIT, Laura’s work is very varied and rewarding. Encouraging students to make healthy lifestyle choices through health promotion clinics is just one of the many crucial roles she fulfils at the college, which is a non-smoking health promoting campus. Laura added, “I am in a position where I can make a difference to people’s lives. I’m very lucky to be able to do that. I advocate for and constantly strive to improve healthcare services for students. While studying at third level, it’s an optimum time to instil good health values and promote health and wellbeing, this award inspires and motivates me to continue that work”. As well as running these clinics, she also deals with the everyday presentations a general practice nurse sees. “I run a fully functioning general medical centre and I personally see about 2,500 students a year for consultation, I also provide emergency response for the entire campus” she added. The Campus Health Service operates confidentially Monday-Friday for students and nurse services are free.

The judges at the competition complimented Laura, who is also the president of the Irish Student Health Association, as an ambassador for her profession and Laura said: “to have your work recognised like that is amazing.” A graduate of NUI Galway, Laura has been at AIT since 2012, and before that, she worked at Portiuncula University Hospital, the Galway Clinic and a medical practice in Ballinasloe.

Laura also complimented the other entrants at the awards and is very excited about the amazing work being done in healthcare and in research. “Healthcare can be challenging but the work being done out there is very inspiring, and I hope it encourages all members of the profession. As well as being thrilled with the personal recognition, I’m delighted that the award recognises the enormous support Athlone Institute of Technology provides to students on campus”.

On receipt of the award, Laura thanked her family, friends and colleagues for their constant support particularly her parents Noel and Kathleen Higgins, husband Niall, and daughters Erica (7) and Evanna (4). A reception was held at AIT for Laura on her return from Dublin where she was complimented by college president Prof Ciarán Ó Catháin and Student Resource Centre manager Sarah La Cumbre.

Pictured above from left to right - Tom Finn, Affidea (Affidea Sponsored the Award) Laura Tully, Institute Nurse & Health Centre Coordinator, Athlone Institute of Technology, Lloyd Mudiwa, Editor, Irish Medical Times and Host for the evening, broadcaster and journalist, Chris Donoghue

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