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Health Visitor awarded prestigious Edith Cavell Award

12th March 2021

We love to celebrate the achievements of health visitors at the iHV and this year we are off to a great start.

We were delighted to learn that Dawn Brenchley, a Specialist Health Visitor for perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH), who works for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust (SHFT) in Hampshire, was awarded the prestigious Edith Cavell Award in January.

Dawn Brenchley, Specialist Health Visitor for perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH) at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

This is a national awards programme “given to nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who shine bright and show exceptional care to one of three groups of people: their colleagues, their patients and their patient’s families”

Dawn was nominated by Kate Walters, SHFT Head of Nursing who wrote:

“Dawn is passionate about perinatal and infant mental health and has worked tirelessly to ensure that all health visitors have the knowledge and skills to deliver this important work. Dawn delivers training, supports the PIMH Champions, works with the Institute of Health Visiting as an iHV PIMH Champion, and creates pathways for a seamless service for women and children. Dawn leads the delivery of the Knowing Me, Knowing You (KMKY) groups with the PIMH Champions, Nursery Nurses and IAPT Practitioners (a facilitated group for women with mild to moderate postnatal depression and anxiety).

“As the COVID pandemic hit, Dawn did not let that change her focus and passion to offer a service for families that needed extra support during this really difficult time. Dawn quickly learnt new skills in delivering training and groups by Zoom.

“Dawn’s focus is always the children and families, and the KMKY groups continued to have structured sessions to help women work through their low mood and emotional wellbeing as well as a baby-centred element with singing, dancing, reading and crafting. These groups have been a lifeline for mothers.

“Dawn really is an incredible nurse who is caring, kind and passionate. On top of this she is a really lovely person.”

Parents shared their views on the KMKY groups:

“The group has changed me as a mum – close friends and relatives have commented on how happy, confident and settled I seem now. Strengthened my relationship with my son and myself”

“I really enjoyed the group – it was a welcome way to meet new mums and be able to share experiences when we can’t do so face to face. Feels like a very necessary thing in the current climate”

“I enjoyed all sessions and found info I learnt really helpful and made two new mum friends from it and we all keep in contact which is lovely”

Dawn commented on receiving her award:

“I feel very humbled to be recognised with this award as I do work with some incredible people, who are health visitors, nursery nurses and PIMH Champions, and I could not have implemented the online KMKY groups without their passion and dedication. The Edith Cavell award is very special because it is named after a particularly courageous nurse.”

Congratulations Dawn, from all of us at the iHV – what fantastic recognition for you and the work that you do, making a difference to the lives of women and their infants.

If you are inspired by Dawn’s achievements and would like to have your work recognised, you may be interested in applying for the Nursing Times Award. This year, the NT Awards contains a new category for public health nurses. It’s time to start shining a light on all the great work that health visitors are doing.

Don’t delay or be shy – someone’s going to win it… and it could be you! Good luck!

And, if you’ve won an award, please let us know, we would love to celebrate with you too.

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