A Mountbatten Nurse, whose job it is to get dying people to the place where they want to spend their last remaining days, has been shortlisted for a national award and the public are being urged to vote for her to win.

Christina Ginsburg has been nominated for an Outstanding Contribution Award in the Our Health Heroes Awards 2019, organised by NHS Health Education England. The public are now able to take part in the UK-wide vote which opens today (5 September) and which will decide on the level of her award - gold, silver or bronze.

Employed by Mountbatten, Christina is based at St Mary’s Hospital where she acts quickly with hospital and Mountbatten colleagues to ensure people approaching the end of their lives get to the place they would prefer to die, which is often at home, at a nursing home or at Mountbatten Hospice rather than on a hospital ward.

Christina was so shocked to receive the news that she deleted the first email notification, thinking it was a hoax. She said: “This award is a delightful surprise! It is important in recognising the unique partnership of Mountbatten and St Mary’s Hospital and the commitment to working together to support and care for as many people as possible coming to the end of their life. We are also committed to supporting families and friends, as how people die lives on in the memories of those left behind. It is a singular honour to receive any level of award that recognises the work of a magnificent team.”  

Watch Christina explain more about her role and reaction to the award announcement

Liz Arnold, Director of Nursing, who nominated Christina said: “We are delighted to hear that Mountbatten Nurse Christina has been shortlisted for this prestigious award and we would certainly describe her as one of our hospice’s - indeed the Isle of Wight’s - ‘heroes’. Christina’s passion and enthusiasm for her role is clear for all to see and is one of the reasons the role has been such a success. She works creatively and flexibly to ensure patients and families receive the very best outcomes possible and she always ‘goes the extra mile’. Part of the success of this role has been Christina’s ability to form trusted relationships and partnership working between hospital, hospice and community settings, in addition to her breadth of knowledge and dedication to improving the end of life care experience. Mountbatten is extremely proud of Christina and all that she has and continues to achieve, every day, always.”

Just three of the ways Christina has helped patients and their families include:

  • She showed great tenacity in helping a patient at St Mary’s, who was on holiday on the Island, return to a hospice near his home. His family sent thanks, saying that Christina recognised how urgent the transfer was and how important it was that he was able to die with his family around him
  • She supported a family who didn’t want a relative to die in hospital. Christina made plans for her to return to her care home, with support from the Mountbatten at Home team, and the lady died in her preferred place of care. A thank you letter from the family said Christina had made dying less frightening
  • Christina recognised that a patient who was due to be transferred from St Mary’s to a nursing home was dying, and it would not be in her best interests to be moved. She called the family to come to the hospital, waited until they arrived and sat with them. The lady died two hours later and Christina spent time comforting the family. A letter from the family said it was a rare gift and thanked her for being there and making everything bearable.

Anyone wishing to vote for Christina can visit the Skills for Health website - voting closes on 11 October 2019.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Science Museum in London on Wednesday 20 November.