A DORSET nurse has made the finals of a national awards ceremony for her dedication to a more sustainable NHS.

Helen Spencer-Jones of University Hospitals Dorset (UHD) is nominated in the ‘Greener Nursing Practice’ category at the RCN Nursing Awards for her enthusiasm towards the environment and making sustainable improvements in local theatres.

She noticed that an ethyl chloride local anaesthetic spray, often used during hip and knee replacements, released into the atmosphere once used and remained there for up to two months before breaking down.

Helen and her team recognised an opportunity to change this and sourced ‘cold sticks’ – stainless-steel sticks with handles that could be held against the patient’s skin to provide an ice-cold sensation instead of using ethyl chloride. Helen has since been licenced to use the sticks and they are now available for staff to use across Bournemouth Hospital.

This project has also gained interest around the country.

Helen said: “I never imagined that one small change could have such a huge impact which would spread to more than 30 trusts nationwide. After over 35 years in nursing, it is so very rewarding to know that you might really have made a difference.”

The award winners will be decided at a ceremony in October.