A nurse struck off the register for whistleblowing is in line for a major professional award, it was announced today.
Margaret Haywood was struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for helping the BBC Panorama film on her ward - exposing poor standards of care.
Her removal has been challenged by the Royal College of Nursing and now she has been short-listed
by the Nursing Standard for its Patient's Choice award.
The winner of the award is decided by a public vote.
Ms Haywood was a nurse at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton and she was nominated by a Sussex woman.
The nominator, "Janet", said: "Mrs Haywood felt so strongly about the standards of care she was witnessing to put her job on the line…Maybe her decision to approach Panorama was questionable, but no one can deny that it was probably the most effective way to instigate change, which would immediately benefit patients.
"In nominating Mrs Haywood, I would like to help send the message to the NMC that they are out of touch with the wishes of the public they deem to protect."
In removing Mrs Haywood's registration the NMC conceded that conditions on the ward were "dreadful" but said she had jeopardised patient privacy.
Five have been chosen from more than 250 nominations, by an expert panel of judges including Nursing Standard Editor- in-Chief Jean Gray.
Ms Gray said: "Nursing Standard is delighted to give patients and their loved ones the opportunity to nominate the nurse who they believe is the best in the country.
"Reading the testimonies has been a moving experience, demonstrating the real difference that nurses are making every day in their patients' lives. Now it's over to members of the public to choose our ultimate winner."
At a ceremony held at The Dorchester Hotel in London on November 9, the winning nurse will be named and awarded 1,000 UK pounds prize money.
Other finalists include Helena Corcoran, a health visitor based at the Maghull Health Centre in Merseyside, who is nominated for her crucial support during bereavement.
Margo Duffy, a community paediatric nurse at Warren Children's Centre, in Lisburn, Antrim, was put forward by two mothers for her practicality and sense of humour.
Kate Hendy, a community psychiatric nurse at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership in Bristol, was chosen for her compassion towards the family of a dementia patient.
And Acosia Opoku, a community mental health nurse at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, was nominated as "a rare gem of a nurse".
Votes can be made over the phone, by text, or on the award's website www.patients-choice.co.uk . Voting closes on October 28.
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