AN INSPIRATIONAL nurse from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded an MBE.
Katharine Bird, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, has been recognised for her work to improve the lives of vulnerable young women being cared for in the Trust’s inpatient unit in Erdington.
Since starting her career with the Trust as a student nurse 15 years ago, Katharine has worked across a number of the Trust’s mental health services, including as a staff nurse and deputy ward manager in eating disorders, a community psychiatric nurse in the mother and baby unit and a ward manager in a young people’s acute ward.
More recently she has been working to support adults and teenagers with serious and complex mental illness in the Trust’s secure care facilities.
Katharine, who is currently on maternity leave, said: “I am delighted and extremely proud to be made a Member of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
“This was totally unexpected. Although my work is challenging, my aim is to ensure that the young people in my care have a positive experience of mental health services and that they are supported through their journey on the way to recovery.
“However, this support relies on the multi–disciplinary team involved and I would like to thank all the dedicated staff who work with me to meet the needs of challenging and vulnerable young people.
“Every day I observe staff giving 110 percent to ensure that our young people and their families receive the support that they need. I dedicate this award to everyone in our team and to the young people that we care for. ”
Katharine also initiated projects to renovate outside space so that it’s available to use for physical exercise and held weekly ‘Kat Chats’ with the young people on the ward to spend dedicated time listening to them and receiving their feedback about how services could be developed to improve their experience.
John Short, chief executive at the mental health Trust, said: “I was so delighted to hear that Katharine has been awarded this well-deserved honour. She embodies everything that is best in nursing.
“She is a strong, compassionate and effective leader who has created a culture where staff, service users and carers are truly involved, change is championed and people are encouraged to speak out and learn.
“I am particularly pleased that this honour goes to a colleague who works at the frontline of our services day-in day-out, providing the best quality care and inspiring others.
“She has already been recognised by her colleagues in our annual staff awards for her compassion and commitment.”