Publish date: 05 October 2023

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The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) London has announced the winners of this year’s Rising Star awards. We are proud to share that two of this year’s winners are UCLH nurses – Dorothy Ilano and Thu Aung. These awards recognise excellence in patient care, innovation and leadership from London’s Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (B.A.M.E) nursing community. This year’s winners were recognised for ‘giving a voice to staff and patients, for empowering themselves or encouraging others to take action and for showing compassion, innovation, and leadership’. All the winners work across a range of settings, both in hospitals and out in the community, such as critical care, paediatrics, mental health and palliative care.

Dorothy, who works as a recruitment, progression and retention nurse, said: 

“All of us in the NHS have a role to do, but it is very uplifting when my colleagues recognise my contributions. It is a pleasure to belong to a supportive team that allows innovations and ideas from all of its members."  

Thu, who works as a practice educator, has been in nursing for 18 years. Thu said: 

“Winning this award is a profound honour that validates my commitment to nursing and education. It inspires me to continue striving for excellence in the continuing support and development of our international nurses.” 

Vanessa Sweeney, chief nurse, said: 

“I am extremely proud to see Dorothy and Thu recognised this year. Their professionalism and passion for nursing can be seen in practice, but also in the words of those who have the pleasure of working with them. They both deserve this recognition, for their commitment to professional development and staff support at a time when nurses need it most and ensuring UCLH continues to deliver exceptional patient care. Thank you and huge congratulations.”  

RCN Regional Director for London, Lisa Elliott, said: 

“Despite working in an exceptionally pressurised health system with widespread short staffing and skyrocketing waiting lists, our Rising Stars winners pushed boundaries, showed leadership, and drove real improvements in services for their patients. They showed personal commitment, determination and passion and they are a fantastic example of how the nursing profession goes above and beyond to care for Londoners.”