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13 November 2023

Julie Roye Crowned Nurse of the Year

ELFT Head of Nursing for Primary Care has been named RCN Nurse of the Year 2023.
julie roye nurse of the year

Queen's Nurse Julie Roye, an exceptional leader in nursing, has been honoured as the RCN Nurse of the Year 2023 for her transformative work in a GP surgery, particularly in increasing cervical screening uptake by 25 to 64-year-olds from 52% to 80% in nine months at Cauldwell Medical Centre, Bedford. Her efforts have significantly reduced barriers to access for the diverse community.

The ELFT Head of Nursing for Primary Care received her profession’s most prestigious award at a ceremony in Liverpool Cathedral on November 10, 2023. She won praise for her 'truly inclusive' and comprehensive approach, genuine co-production of services with the people who use them, and her focus on staff development.

Ms Roye won the Leadership category before being named RCN Nurse of the Year 2023, marking her as the first Primary Care nurse to achieve this prestigious title. The Nurse of the Year is chosen from the 16 category winners. Her work exemplifies the impact of dedicated nursing leadership in enhancing patient care and addressing health inequalities.

Ms Roye said: "I am overwhelmed! I can't believe what happened. When they called my name, I thought they were calling someone else! It's a surreal feeling, but it shows what can be achieved with a fantastic team who believe in your ideas and a community that embraces change." 

‘This shows a deprived borough can achieve the same health care as privileged areas with the right leadership and by accepting change."

RCN Chief Nurse Nicola Ranger and Joanne Bosanquet, Chair of the judging panel, commended Roye's passion and determination in addressing health disparities. Her comprehensive approach to population health and diversity has set a benchmark for care transformation in the UK.

Julie's leadership and patient-centric approach have been lauded by colleagues and patients alike. Christina Guevara, a lead practitioner at Cauldwell Medical Centre, praised Roye's motivational and supportive leadership style. Patient Joyce Tucker shared her positive experience with the improved cervical screening process, highlighting Roye's passion for empowering patients and staff.

"I am delighted to see Julie win the prestigious RCN Nursing Awards," said Dr. Mohit Venkataram, ELFT Executive Director for Primary Care. "Her leadership, patient-focused approach, and innovative work in cervical screening have made a significant difference in our community. She is a beacon of excellence within our directorate and Trust. I am proud of Julie; she truly deserved this award."

ELFT Interim Chief Nurse Claire McKenna added, "Julie's achievement means a great deal to our Trust. We are incredibly proud of her and the recognition she has received. Julie's success shines a light on the vital role of primary care nursing, highlighting its significance in our healthcare system and the profound impact it has on patient outcomes. Her dedication and innovative approach in nursing are an inspiration for the wider nursing community."

Continuing her trailblazing efforts, Ms. Roye has already embarked on a new project aimed at improving digital literacy among patients in diverse communities. This initiative involves developing short videos in various languages to facilitate better understanding and engagement with healthcare services.

Read RCN article RCN Nurse of the Year 2023: ‘We empower patients with choice’

Julie Roye spearheaded a transformative cervical screening initiative in East Bedford's primary care network, a region previously marked by low screening uptake.

This comprehensive programme was built around a multidisciplinary team, including nurses, healthcare professionals, patients, and outreach and education experts.

The team's innovative strategies involved sending multilingual text reminders for screenings, offering double appointments with translators, and establishing special clinics for the LGBTQ+ community, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility.

The initiative also focused on providing easy-read information for individuals with learning disabilities and culturally competent care, sensitive to various cultural practices and religious beliefs. This approach included translating communications into over 20 languages and tailoring care for those with previous sexual trauma or concerns about the screening process.

A significant aspect of the programme was its engagement with the LGBTQ+ community and collaboration with Jo’s Trust. The team's efforts to create a safe and affirming environment were complemented by their inclusive language and practices.

Underpinning this initiative was the ELFT Quality Improvement method, crucial in increasing cervical screening uptake among women aged 25 to 64. The project involved re-writing and translating screening invitations, enabling self-booking, conducting data cleanses, and training the nursing team and Advanced Clinical Practitioners (ACPs) in cytology. These measures not only encouraged screening uptake but also played a vital role in combating cervical cancer.

Recognised for its impact and innovation, this project was shortlisted for the Primary Care Initiative of the Year award, showcasing ELFT's commitment to patient-led healthcare and its dedication to reducing health inequities.