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A special tribute was paid at the 2020 Nursing Times Awards last night to an “inspirational and visionary” nurse who died during the nomination process for the nurse of the year award.
Kimberley St John, a palliative care specialist nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London and the trust’s lead for transforming end-of-life care, died suddenly in July following a stroke.
Ms St John, aged 32, had been shortlisted in the nurse of the year category which for 2020 had been renamed the Florence Nightingale Nurse of the Year, to mark 200 years since the birth of Florence Nightingale.
During the virtual awards ceremony, Nursing Times took a moment to pay tribute to Ms St John and highlighted the way she had “transformed so many people’s lives”.
Awards host Naga Munchetty, from BBC Breakfast, said: “Colleagues said Kim transformed palliative and end-of-life care through learning and innovation.
“She was an inspirational and visionary nurse who transformed so many people’s lives through her honesty and passion and brought so much comfort to all who came into contact with her.
“Kimberley represented the very best in nursing through her passion and commitment and she made things happen that will have a lasting effect on patient care.”
In the year preceding her unexpected death, Ms St John had married her partner, Sam, and was soon due to become a nurse consultant in her new hometown of Brighton.
She had been working on campaigns to help normalise conversations around death and to get more people thinking about and discussing their wishes for the end of their life.
Working to advance her specialty through both practice and research, Ms St John was granted a prestigious Darzi Fellowship for aspiring clinical leaders and had undertaken a master’s degree.
See here for the full list of winners from the 2020 Nursing Times Awards.