Fiona Stephenson – a specialist Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) nurse and trainer – who works in partnership with the Livability International team – has received the prestigious Fellowship Award from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
RCN Fellowships are awarded to people who have had a significant impact on others and nursing.
With 30 years of clinical experience Fiona has been actively involved in supporting nurses working in the area of SCI management around the world for more than 6 years.
On receiving the award, Fiona said, “I am absolutely delighted, and feel extremely proud and honoured to have been awarded this Fellowship by The Royal College of Nursing. I really want to thank my family, friends and colleagues for their unwavering support, and would not have been able to do this without them. I feel very lucky to be able to utilise my professional and life skills in the care of a very vulnerable group of people.”
As one of the first nurses with SCI experience to respond to the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, Fiona has worked solidly and consistently with Livability’s partner, the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC).
“Not only did Fiona drop everything to join the first dedicated rehabilitation team to leave the UK, she also then volunteered to stay on and support the centre after the UK emergency teams had left, bridging a critical gap between the more glamorous short stay emergency work, and the critical longer term capacity building and training that is needed in SCI care following an emergency”, said Peter Skelton, Rehabilitation Lead for UK Emergency Medical Team.
Working alongside Livability International – a specialist team providing disability and development consultancy in the UK and overseas – Fiona currently devotes her time and energy to ensuring people with SCI in Nepal receive the highest quality nursing care.
She continues to drive quality improvements at SIRC that has resulted in an increased bed capacity from 40 to 100 since the earthquakes, enabling many more people with SCI to access the services they require.
[x_blockquote cite=”Stephen Muldoon, Assistant Director for Livability International” type=”left”]”Fiona is a wonderful role model for SCI nurses everywhere and it is very appropriate that her efforts and devotion are recognised through the highly prestigious RCN Fellowship.”[/x_blockquote]
In collaboration with a colleague, Fiona set up the International Network for SCI Nurses – an organisation aimed at the global sharing of ideas, knowledge and resources.
Fiona worked behind the scenes developing online training modules for nurses – elearnSCI.org – a very large international initiative to provide free and accessible education for nurses and other healthcare professionals across the world.
The Royal College of Nursing has been supporting nurses and promoting the vital importance of nursing staff since 1916. Now celebrating its 100th anniversary the RCN has become the largest professional association and union for nursing staff in the world with more than 425,000 members.
“This award is not just about me, but reflects the holistic team approach of many people in the humanitarian sector with whom I have had the privilege to work”, said Fiona. “Our aim is to assist men, women and children to adapt to life following a spinal cord injury. As nurses, we have a vital role to play in rehabilitation and the holistic care of patients and their families.”