Staff Choice Awards 2018/19
Unsung Hero Award (Clinical)

Kathryn Barrow

Has been shortlisted for this award

Job title
Staff Nurse 
Service
Poppy Ward, Woodlands Unit 
Location
Ipswich, Suffolk 

The nomination said...

When I think about Kathryn, I think about a shining light. No matter how difficult the ward environment, if we are facing challenging circumstances, Kathryn will be there, doing her very best and always with a big smile and a hug. Frequently, she works additional hours to support the ward when necessary. She never complains – always keeping a level head and bringing people back to the positives.

Her hand-over is exceptionally delivered, she takes into account the needs of the patients and delivers relevant and valuable points, making sure to voice significant notes from the entire team. She always acts with empathy and is one of the most professional individuals I have had the pleasure of working with. The service users respond incredibly well to her empathy and person centered approach and are vocal about this.

In her day-to-day role as a nurse she is outstanding. A service user with a diagnosis of clinical depression was experiencing psychosis and thought that Kathryn was trying to poison her with medication. As a result, the service user refused fluids for days. Kathryn never gave up on her, and persevered with kindness. She encouraged the family to attend, and together they were able to establish enough trust that this service user began to accept fluids and work with the team again.

Although her role involves the ‘big things’ she provides the same level of specificity and care for the ‘little things’ too, such as going the extra mile to make sure a service user has an extra blanket if they are cold. I believe that Kathryn has a unique understanding of the impact of kindness and the exponential potential that small acts have. For example, Kathryn will always ask staff if they need/ would like a hug if they are looking stressed or have had a difficult moment. This happened to me on one occasion, and it really meant the world that someone had taken the time (that they probably didn’t have) to see if I was okay.

She treats the service users with exceptional care and kindness, and always acts in the best interests of her patients and fellow team members. Kathryn is an individual who will always go the extra mile to help others and I think people like that should be celebrated. Kathryn is a prime example of how we should all behave at work, with a positive and professional attitude that is in-keeping with our Trust values, despite any difficulties that can arise.


Since Poppy Ward’s Clinical Team Lead left on maternity leave early this year, Kathryn has stepped up to jointly cover management responsibilities. Kathryn is the very embodiment of the Trust value ‘Positively’. Her empathy towards service users is always apparent and shines through too when dealing with staff.

I am incredibly grateful for the support she has given me, above and beyond what is required by the Trust. She has enabled me to return to work and perform at my best; implementing changes to my shift patterns and meeting me regularly for check-ins.

In terms of Ward performance, Kathryn has been at the forefront of improved practices and procedures that have been praised and recognised in recent CQC inspections. Kathryn is a vibrant, inspiring character, with a constantly positive disposition.

As a manager, Kathryn is energetic, committed, hardworking, and very strong in relating to and supporting staff. She has brought a calm assurance to the role and an holistic, inclusive approach to addressing barriers or issues, as and when they arise.

She has always been extremely patient centred in her approach. She is the most caring, empathetic person whom I have had the privilege to work with; regularly taking time to sit down and talk to and reassure service users. Kathryn is very good at establishing and developing inclusive, trusting working relationships with service users.

Kathryn not only (jointly) fulfilled the temporarily vacant Clinical Lead position (on top of her existing Band 6 role), she excelled in it. Her interpersonal skills are excellent and the way in which she has dealt with a demanding workload deserves recognition.