A BELOVED health care assistant has won a prestigious award in honour of her hard work.

Lisa Morgan – who works at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle – was nominated for the annual RCNi Nurse Awards after being recognised for launching an initiative to help support children who need open heart surgery.

The care practitioner won the health care assistant of the year award at the ceremony hosted by television presenter Kate Garraway.

Ms Morgan, an experienced health care professional at the Freeman Hospital, developed a new role and initiative with her management team in 2018 to provide additional support for patients and families during the time they go to theatre for open heart surgery, whilst also reducing fear and anxiety of going to theatre.

She said: “I am absolutely thrilled that I have won this award, it means the world to me and I’m proud to be representing the children and families who have needed support during incredibly difficult times.

“Handing your child over to a team of strangers can be the most vulnerable and daunting time as a parent, so developing this care practitioner role has enabled us as a team to show the care and compassion we have for our patients and their families.

“I have trained all of our scrub and support staff, anaesthetic, recovery and porter teams in the importance of family centred care to our patients and how they can help the patients’ journey too. This is a whole team approach which has received 100 percent positive feedback from our patients and families which is incredible.”

Part of the initiative involves a teddy bear named ‘Baggins Bear’ which is funded by the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF).

When Ms Morgan meets each patient with their families to talk them through the procedure and answer any questions, she gives the patient their own ‘Baggins Bear’ and a book which she has created herself.

The book can be translated into any language to help engage with all families.

Ms Morgan said: “Baggins is an important part of our service and it’s a lovely keepsake for the children to take home with them. Visiting the family after surgery is also very important to continue the relationship."