'Thoroughly deserved' national award for community health worker

A health worker has been recognised with a national award for his work on a project which is transforming older people’s lives.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 4:45 am

Michael Curtis, a trainee advanced clinical practitioner with the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust’s older people’s service in Easington, won the Patient Experience Transformer of Tomorrow category at the Patient Experience Network National Awards.

The awards aim to recognise the delivery of outstanding patient experience by those involved in the health and social care industry.

Michael’s achievement is even more remarkable because he left school with no qualifications and joined the Army before his passion for healthcare saw him complete a degree in Mental Health Nursing in 2010.

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Michael Curtis

To advance his career further, he joined Sunderland University’s Advanced Clinical Practitioner Master's programme part-time – only to discover he was struggling with his grades and it was finally discovered that he had unknowingly been living with dyslexia.

Michael, from Blackhall Colliery, said: “I still can't believe I've won this award, but it’s recognition for all those involved in the project.

“This is also a huge honour for me personally, having only been diagnosed with dyslexia and struggling educationally for so long."

Michael was nominated for the Dementia Friendly Village project in Easington as part of his degree programme.

The project’s aims was to make the community aware of and understand dementia so that those with the condition can continue to live well, in the area they choose.

Michael said: “I wanted to bring the community together so people with dementia are understood, respected and supported. Relationships were formed with the community centre, local schools and shops to expand the project, break down mental health stigma and support people to keep active, involved and valued.

“This meant those with dementia and their carers felt part of the community, they could live in a way they wanted and didn’t feel lonely, cut off from society and kept active and valued.”

Programme leader Victoria Duffy said: “Michael really embodies the ACP role and has made some amazing changes for his client group and thoroughly deserves this recognition and we are all immensely proud of his success.”