ERIC has announced the winner of the inaugural ERIC Childhood Continence Care Award, sponsored by Coloplast. The award was presented to Joan McKenzie, a Paediatric Urology Specialist Nurse at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

The award recognises a health professional who has demonstrated excellent continence care for a child or children in the UK within the NHS, local community, or an education setting.

Joan won the award because of the passion and enthusiasm she has shown during her 32-year career. She was one of the first children’s urology outreach nurses and was central to moving Evelina’s service from a hospital based one to the community.

Joan’s collaboration with multiple community teams and school staff around London and the South East has enabled children with continence needs to stay at home in their normal routines rather than come to hospital as inpatients. This has meant less time away from school and their peers and has allowed the children the best chance of reaching their potential in life.

I strive to do the best that I can for these patients and their families because it can be an uphill battle in understanding incontinence and the effects that it has on them. Joan McKenzie, Winner of ERIC's Childhood Continence Care Award

The award was presented at ERIC’s Gala Dinner on 4th November 2014. Joan was presented with a cheque for £500 and also received a place at the ERIC and PromoCon Paediatric Continence Care Conference the following day.

Joan said "On receiving the news that I'd won, it obviously came as a shock and surprise as I was totally unaware that I had been nominated. I have the pleasure of working with a fantastic and dedicated team who care for children and their families with kidney, bladder and bowel problems. I strive to do the best that I can for these patients and their families because it can be an uphill battle in understanding incontinence and the effects that it has on them.”

Cathy Gill, the colleague who nominated Joan said: "Joan's pioneering work and expertise over the last 30 years has made an enormous difference to the children in her care. What was a tiny service to begin with at Evelina London has grown beyond recognition. Joan receiving this prestigious award has highlighted this fantastic work in a specialist area often overlooked.”

David Derbyshire, ERIC’s interim CEO, said: "We are thrilled to present Joan with the first ever ERIC award for children’s continence care in our 25th anniversary year. We hope to recognise the outstanding work of many more continence specialists in coming years.”

Martin Beynon, Director of Nursing at Coloplast, who sponsored the award said: "Coloplast are delighted to support this prestigious award focused on the personal contribution of an individual to children’s continence services. The winner and all of the nominees show great passion and commitment in the services they deliver and it is clear they make a real difference to the lives of individual children and their families.”

Follow this link for more information about the ERIC award and conference.