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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

BSMHFT nurse named in Queen's Birthday Honours List

Published: 09/06/2018

An inspirational nurse from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, announced on Saturday 9 June. 

Katharine Bird, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, has been recognised for her work to improve the lives of vulnerable young women being cared for in the Trust’s inpatient unit in Erdington, Birmingham.

Since starting her career with the Trust as a student nurse 15 years ago, Katharine has worked across a number of the Trust’s varied mental health services, including as a Staff Nurse and Deputy Ward Manager in Eating Disorders, a Community Psychiatric Nurse in the Mother and Baby Unit and a Ward Manager in a young people’s acute ward. More lately she has been working to support adults and teenagers with serious and complex mental illness in the Trust’s secure care facilities. 

Katharine Bird

Whatever role she is in, Katharine puts the care and wellbeing of service users at the heart of everything she does. This includes leading local initiatives such as setting up groups to ensure service users, their families and carers are fully involved and are encouraged to participate in care plans and the running of the ward.  This has led to excellent therapeutic relationships which have allowed service users to identify early when they are in distress and work with staff on a range of coping strategies so that things don’t escalate.  This not only improves the lives of service users, but also of staff who have a calmer and safer working environment. Katharine also initiated projects to renovate outside space so that it’s available to use for physical exercise and held weekly ‘Kat Chats’ with the young people on the ward to spend dedicated time listening to them and receiving their feedback about how services could be developed to improve their experience.

John Short, Chief Executive at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust, said:
“I was so delighted to hear that Katharine has been awarded this well-deserved honour. She embodies everything that is best in nursing. She is a strong, compassionate and effective leader who has created a culture where staff, service users and carers are truly involved, change is championed and people are encouraged to speak out and learn. 

“I am particularly pleased that this honour goes to a colleague who works at the frontline of our services day-in day-out, providing the best quality care and inspiring others. She has already been recognised by her colleagues in our annual staff awards for her compassion and commitment, and from the many compliments I have heard paid to Katharine one that stands out is: ‘I witnessed Katharine supporting a service user in distress and thought to myself – this is the nurse I want to be.’”

Katharine, who is currently on maternity leave following the recent birth of her second child, said:

“I am delighted and extremely proud to be made a Member of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.  This was totally unexpected. Although my work is challenging, my aim is to ensure that the young people in my care have a positive experience of mental health services and that they are supported through their journey on the way to recovery. However, this support relies on the multi–disciplinary team involved and I would like to thank all the dedicated staff who work with me to meet the needs of challenging and vulnerable young people.

"Every day I observe staff giving 110 percent to ensure that our young people and their families receive the support that they need. I dedicate this award to everyone in our team and to the young people that we care for.  Seeing the young people make progress within their recovery is the reward in itself.”