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Plastercast nurse wins top awardA nurse in Gloucestershire is setting new standards having won a prestigious award for the quality of her work in plaster casts.

Julien Standing, an outpatients nurse at Stroud General Hospital, learned on Friday 15 November that she has won the Lois Barr Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement.

The award, from the Association of Orthopaedic Practitioners (AOP), is given at the end of each year to the student who has gained the highest overall marks in the British Casting Certificate examinations, run by the British Orthopaedic Association.

She said: “When I received the letter telling me about the award I was over the moon, to be honest. I was very keen to try and win the award because I knew the prize was a place at the AOP’s annual conference – and that’s a wonderful event to attend to learn about all the latest technologies and techniques in casting. So I was very driven to do as well as I could but I still knew winning would be very difficult.”

Liz Fenton, Director of Nursing at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, said staff training was key to supporting colleagues and the ongoing success of the trust and that the award would act as an inspiration for others.

She said: “I would like to congratulate Julien on her fantastic achievement, which reflects her hard work and commitment. The trust supported her in the training and this award demonstrates that we are committed to fulfilling the potential of our very talented pool of staff.”

The 44-year-old studied at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport between December 2012 and July this year before taking oral and practical examinations at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London.

Funding to undertake the programme was provided by GCS, while her colleagues reorganised shifts to cover while Julien completed the course, which qualifies her as an orthopaedic practitioner and allows her to mentor other students.

Helen Acock, team manager for surgery and outpatients at Stroud General Hospital, said: “Julien runs the plaster room here and we are already using her skills to develop others so that more staff can benefit from her skills and knowledge.

“As a manager this also makes me feel motivated because personal and professional development of staff is a key priority at the trust, so every achievement is important. “Julien has had cards and messages of congratulations – it gives everyone a lift to be able to celebrate this success.”

In January Stroud Hospital League of Friends provided a range of new equipment for the plaster room including a QuietCast cutter - a hand held, battery operated cast cutter which makes removing casts less distressing for vulnerable patients such as children and people with dementia – a hydraulic plastering chair, three ergonomic portering chairs, a leg roller and leg rests.

David Miller, Chairman of Stroud Hospitals League of Friends, said: “We are delighted that Julien has received this award as she is a valued and dedicated member of the staff at Stroud General Hospital. The League is happy to use our funds raised and donations to purchase equipment to supplement and enhance equipment available through the NHS and to support the care provided by the fine staff at the Stroud Hospitals.”

Julien will formally receive her award at the AOP annual conference, being held in Nottingham next June.