A nurse has been recognised one of social care’s most distinguished accolades.

Atherton nurse, Jemma Sharratt was presented with the Chief Nurse Adult Social Care Gold Award by Professor Deborah Sturdy CBE during a visit to dementia specialist, Belong.

The award was developed to reward significant and outstanding contributions made by nurses and exceptional nursing practice.

The gold award recognises Jemma’s range of leadership skills, expertise and enduring compassion within her profession caring for older people, including those living with dementia.

Jemma was also presented with the Social Care Nursing Award by Nursing and Midwifery Council chief executive, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, who described her as a "shining light in the profession". 

Jemma said: “I am honoured to do the work I do but to be recognised by Deborah Sturdy is truly remarkable.

“I love my job and really relish the opportunity to introduce new students to the rewards of working in a social care setting.

“I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to develop my career with Belong and to be part such a forward-thinking organisation.”

Jemma is village nurse manager at Belong Atherton, where she leads a team of seven nurses and has played an instrumental role in developing career pathways for student nurses, including introducing the trainee nurse associate role in conjunction with University of Salford.

She is also leading the development of ground-breaking guidance around the administration of liquid medication for residents.

Prof Sturdy visited the not-for-profit organisation to find out more about its community nursing approach and its "household model" which sees small cohorts of people living together in a homely extended family-sized setting.

The latter entails nurses supporting residents in situ as their needs change, rather than moving them to a dedicated unit, as is typically found in many care settings.

Palliative care is also provided in the households and Jemma has led the village’s achievement of the platinum Gold Standards Framework (GSF) accreditation for end-of-life care, as well as its win for Most Innovative Setting in the Wigan Palliative and End-of-Life Care Awards 2022, where she was awarded Nurse of the Year.

Prof Sturdy, chief nurse for adult social care in England, said: “It was fantastic to meet Jemma and Belong’s team of passionate leaders – their enthusiasm and compassion was palpable.

"Jemma’s practice development work is heartening to see, and equally, a first-hand experience of the household model was inspiring.

“The subtle and sensitive approach and personalised, tailored interactions were so well crafted. Belong is very much an organisation that ‘walks the talk’ when it comes to leading care provision.”