Sheffield nurse who visited patients on Christmas Day nominated for award over her selfless work

A Sheffield nurse who visited patients on Christmas Day to make sure they didn’t spend the day alone during the Covid-19 pandemic is in the running for two awards.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 6:00 am
Nurse Dawn Varney

Dawn Varney, from Hackenthorpe, has been nominated for two Sheffield Nurse Awards, in the Commitment to General Practice category, and the Above and Beyond award.

The 47-year-old works as a practice nurse at Birley Health Centre, alongside GPs, and has continued to meet patients in person throughout the pandemic for her job.

Dawn said: “I was shocked to be nominated. I didn’t expect it at all.

Dawn visited her patient Hilda, who is 98, on Christmas Day and dropped off some presents.

"It has been a tough couple of years for all the nurses - we have all done such an amazing job.

"It’s humbling and it’s a nice feeling to know that people think that of you when you are stressed every day.

"It’s weird because as a practice nurse working in a surgery you don’t actually feel like you’re working on the front line.

"To me the people in ICUs were on the front line - but actually, we never closed, we have to see people face to face, we just carried on and did it.”

Dawn Varney has been nominated for two Sheffield Nurse Awards - Commitment to General Practice, and Above and Beyond.

One reason that Dawn was nominated for the Above and Beyond Award was because she visited several patients who said they would not see anyone on Christmas Day, 2020.

Dawn said: “I couldn’t think of someone like my nan being on her own at Christmas.

"I reached out to work and got lots of toiletries, biscuits and other useful things. I didn’t feel that it was any time out of my Christmas with my family.

"To see the faces of people was just lovely, I think some people forget what Christmas is about.”

Dawn also established a choir a year before the pandemic to help patients with breathing difficulties as well as those who were lonely or lived with dementia.

Dawn aims to restart the choir later this month.

One patient who joined said: “I love the choir and feel this is my second home.”

Dawn said: “It was like karaoke without the beer.”

The awards, which are organised by Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, will be given out on September 28 as part of a virtual event.Dawn added: “Whether we win or not it’s about celebrating that nurses throughout Sheffield have worked really hard.”

Alun Windle, chief nurse and Covid Vaccination Lead at NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “The award ceremony is a chance to recognise and celebrate the achievements of all practice nurses and healthcare assistants in the city, not only the ones nominated.

"They have worked incredibly hard and met the challenges that the pandemic brought.

“Once the COVID-19 vaccination programme started they worked even harder, not only undertaking their normal duties but giving up their spare time to vaccinate thousands of people. I would like to thank every one for their commitment.”

See the full list of nominations at https://sheffieldnurseawards.