Sarah Everett (centre)  was inspirational in helping male patients.

By Lizzie Healey

A nurse in the local Health Board area who has helped to establish a Men’s Shed and created a haven for men facing social isolation has won a public vote for one of nursing’s top accolades.

Thousands of people chose Sarah Everett as the winner of the Patient Choice category in the RCNi Nurse Awards at a glittering ceremony on July 3. The award enables members of the public to thank a nurse, midwife, health visitor, healthcare assistant or assistant practitioner who has provided exceptional care.

Sarah, a practice sister at Govan Health Centre, was one of five inspirational nurses nominated by their patients and shortlisted as finalists.

The award recognised Sarah’s tireless work to establish Men’s Shed Govan as a health and activity hub for isolated men. As well as activities such as gardening, darts and cooking, the Shed offers health checks and well-being advice in an informal setting. The project has changed lives, according to the men who nominated her.

Sarah credits the relationship she built with the men as a practice nurse for what they have achieved together.

She said: ‘I’m so delighted to win such a prestigious award. I didn’t expect it at all. It was such an honour to be nominated by a patient. It shocked me how many people voted for me.

“I started with five patients but it quickly grew to 15 and now more than 30 attend regularly. They all gave so much time painting, doing the garden and cutting the grass. They’ve got it looking really good. It gives them a sense of worth as well as companionship.”

Men’s Shed member John Alexander, who nominated Sarah for the award, says: “When I retired two years ago, I didn’t want to feel that there’s nowhere to go other than the pub or bookies.

“It would have been easy to ignore what many men in our community desperately needed, or to assume someone else would rise to the challenge, but Sarah did not.

“She motivates everyone involved to keep going, even when we have been dealt bitter blows. Her ability to lead and cajole is what has made the Shed possible.”

Sarah secured funding from the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland and encouraged others to join.

Dr Margaret McGuire, Nurse Director, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “Sarah is clearly making a tangible difference to the lives of group members and this award is richly deserved.

“Evidence tells us that older men who live alone are more likely to be lonely than their female counterparts. They can tend to have less regular contact with family and friends, which can intensify feelings of loneliness.”

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