Nurse at Ilkeston home for young women shortlisted for national Royal College of Nursing award
A member of staff at an Ilkeston care facility for vulnerable young women has been shortlisted for a national nursing award.
Rebecca Betts-Richards is one of six contenders in the patients’ choice category of the RCNi Nurse Awards, which takes nominations from those receiving care and the people around them.
In a joint statement, residents of Chilwell House, on Wilmot Street, said: “Rebecca started working here in February 2019. It was her birthday and she’s continued to put us first ever since. Nothing is too much trouble.
“Some of us are only 18 and we don't have any family. Rebecca arrives every day with a smile on her face. She might be met with miserable ones but she never changes.
Chilwell House offers a supportive environment for people with mental illness and personality disorders.
The residents said: “It is not always an easy place to work. We make silly decisions and are sometimes not very nice to Rebecca but she never gives up on us, never panics, never looks stressed, and is never mean to us. She doesn't treat us like we are a pain.”
"Lots of us have been in mental health services for a long time and felt stuck without a good role model or anyone to show us how to figure out who we are. Rebecca is honest with us in a way that doesn’t make us feel bad.”
As well as caring for the residents, Rebecca has also engaged with external agencies, community services, police, GPs, colleges and universities so they can better support the women in future.
The residents said: “We’ve all faced negativity due to our diagnosis but Rebecca treats us like it’s a superpower not a disability. She campaigns for better awareness and challenges the negativity.”
Rebecca was overwhelmed to hear of her nomination and said: “There is still a stigma around personality disorders. Some of the women who come here have never had their diagnosis explained to them. Some have had chaotic homes and experienced trauma at a young age.
"I am angry at the way people have spoken to them, they are so lovely. They are challenging sometimes, but we all are."
The winner will be decided by public vote and announced at a virtual ceremony later in the year. To vote, go to www.rcni.com/patients-choice-vote.