“The best experience of my entire life” – Belong Atherton’s Nicola Johnstone on meeting The Prince of Wales

Belong Atherton’s Clinical Lead Nurse, Nicola Johnstone, has described her meeting with The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace as the best experience of her entire life.

Nicola attended a reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the outstanding contributions of nurses to front line care. She was invited for her work leading a team of nurses and support workers to ensure the highest standards of end-of-life care at the village.

Commenting on her meeting with The Prince of Wales, Nicola said: “It was the best experience of my entire life. The whole event from start to finish was amazing.

“Prince Charles was very gracious. He thanked me for my work and said how grateful he was for the outstanding care he’d received from NHS nurses in the past. He also asked me to hold his drink for him at one point.

“It’s humbling to receive such recognition for work I feel lucky to be able to do. Providing care to the residents of Belong Atherton and supporting my colleagues is a reward in itself. Having said that, I think I’ll be talking about this for years to come. My family, including my husband, Andy, my daughters, Mackenzie and Isabella, and my mum and dad are all very proud.”

Nicola has already received numerous awards for her work in the care sector, picking up the End of Life Care Award at the Great North West Care Awards in 2016, and both the Nurse of the Year and Peer Supported awards at the Wigan and Leigh Hospice Awards 2016. In the same year, she was a finalist for the End of Life Care Award at the 3rd Sector Care Awards.

She also collaborates with local hospitals, hospices and other healthcare providers to help them implement current best practise in palliative care.

Tracy Paine, Deputy Chief Executive of Belong, said: “We are all very proud of Nicola and her contributions to raising standards of end-of-life care at Belong and in the local community. There are currently nearly 50,000 registered nurses working in adult social care in the UK who too often go unrecognised, so it’s excellent news that Nicola is amongst those whose achievements are being celebrated.