A NURSE who helps people stub out their smoking habits has won a coveted award.

Wendy Harrison, a staff nurse in the emergency department at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, won the Pioneering Community Nurse of the Year award at the Welch Allyn Pioneers of Care Awards.

Wendy, who was nominated by Sister Alison Pickford, was also given a £500 bursary at the award ceremony in London.

The awards were designed to celebrate and reward trailblazing nurses who have gone out of their way to work effectively, efficiently and empathetically with patients and have introduced new techniques to solve problems and help improve lives.

Wendy said smoking-related diseases kill 1,000 people every year and, despite the health awareness campaigns, smokers find it incredibly hard to stop.

But for Wendy, it is a challenge she is prepared to tackle head on.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted to have won this award and it recognises how important this issue really is.”

As well as helping patients to stop smoking, Wendy’s approach has also ensured health professionals across the spectrum, from smoking cessation nurses, pharmacies and the senior emergency teams, treat ill patients with nicotine addiction with the same empathy and dignity as those who have other addictions such as alcohol and drugs.

Pioneers of Care judge Dr Richard Stevens said: “Wendy is proof that nursing is difficult to categorise and that empathy is vital when caring for and treating patients.

“Her fantastic idea has real benefits for the community at large.

“Although Wendy’s initiative started life in a hospital, we have decided to award her this year’s community award because the results extended out to other local people.”