Elaine Cooney in the relatives’ room that she helped to redecorate in her own time
Elaine Cooney, who works in the critical care department at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, is one of just five candidates from across the country shortlisted for the Healthcare Assistant Award at the Royal College of Nursing’s Nurse Awards 2017.
“It’s absolutely amazing to have been shortlisted for this award,” Elaine said. “I can’t really believe it and I’m looking forward to the ceremony so much. If I was to win, it would be brilliant, both for me personally and for the trust.”
The Senior Healthcare Assistant was nominated by a former colleague for the work she does to ensure that cancer patients about to undergo major surgery are prepared for what they will encounter when they wake up in the intensive care unit.
Basingstoke hospital is one of just two centres in the country to carry out surgery on pseudomyxoma peritonei, a rare form of cancer that requires a major operation. Elaine does all she can to ensure that patients about to undergo surgery know what to expect, regularly giving up her own time to introduce them to the intensive care unit in advance of operations.
Elaine, who is 56 and lives in Andover, said: “Helping to prepare pseudomyxoma patients for their time on the intensive care unit ahead of their operations is something that is really important to me. It’s a big, long operation and the thought of going into intensive care can be frightening.
“By showing them around, hopefully I can take that daunting element away, which maybe even helps to avoid things like delirium.”
Elaine carried out an audit on the positive effect that these visits have on patients and relatives and was invited to showcase her findings at the International Congress on Peritonal Surface Malignaces in Washington DC.
Elaine’s dedication does not end there though. She gave up more of her own time to redecorate the relatives’ room in the intensive care unit, making it more a comfortable and pleasant place for patients’ families to be.