Community nurse who set up stroke liaison service wins professional excellence award

A community nurse and stroke team leader for Tayside has won a Life After Stroke Award for professional excellence as judged by GPonline.

Margaret Mitchell: Life After Stroke award winner for professional excellence
Margaret Mitchell: Life After Stroke award winner for professional excellence

Margaret Mitchell received her award from charity the Stroke Association at a ceremony in London last month.

Margaret originally trained as a nurse working in acute medicine. When the services in Tayside were reconfigured 10 years ago she realised there was little long-term support for stroke survivors, so she set up a stroke liaison service. It provides stroke survivors with care and support for up to a year after they are discharged from hospital so they can regain their independence.

In 2011 Margaret also established exercise groups for stroke survivors so they could improve their fitness and reduce their chance of having another stroke. It’s been such a success that two volunteers have set up two more clubs in new locations.

If the current demand keeps up then the original clubs will grow by at least 50% in the next year and there are plans to extend to Dundee, Perth and Angus.

Praise of patients and service users are of always of utmost importance 

Margaret said: ‘It is humbling to think that patients would consider nominating me. Stroke survivors are the reason I love my job, every day they inspire me to do more because they are so dedicated to making a recovery. The Tayside service will be celebrating its tenth anniversary soon and I am retiring so getting this recognition from the community is a real milestone and it means the world.’

Judge and GP editor Neil Durham said: ‘The appreciation of colleagues is welcome but the praise of patients and service users are of always of utmost importance to professionals. Tayside owes a great deal to Margaret Mitchell. Setting up a stroke liaison service and exercise club, and then encouraging patients to create their own group are major achievements.’

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