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Nurse at Institute of Technology Carlow wins Practice Nurse of the Year 2020

02/12/2020 12:33:00

Theresa Lowry-Lehnen, who is the practice nurse at Institute of Technology Carlow, was last night awarded ‘Practice Nurse of the Year 2020’ at the Irish Healthcare Awards.

The Irish Healthcare Awards are Ireland's leading and most prestigious medical Awards. Created by Irish Medical Times, the awards are now in their 19th year and recognise innovation and excellence across the Irish healthcare sector. 

Following her win, Theresa commented, “2020 is the year of the nurse, a time to celebrate the many wonderful achievements of the nursing profession and all those working in it. Having spent almost four decades working at the heart of our great profession, I am truly honoured and very proud to be the Practice Nurse of the Year 2020 ”.

Theresa has been working as an associate lecturer in the faculty of lifelong learning at IT Carlow since 2008 and as the full-time college nurse since 2015. Institute of Technology Carlow boasts more than 9,500 learners. The campus medical unit is a purpose-built, modern health centre with a full-time nurse in Theresa and visiting doctors to cater for the medical needs of students, including Erasmus and international students. Theresa runs a busy daily nurse-led clinic that sees more than 5,000 appointments and visits in an academic year.

David Denieffe, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, IT Carlow was amongst the first to congratulate Theresa. He commented, “The staff and students at IT Carlow wish to extend their congratulations to Theresa on yet another national win. Theresa is a dedicated and hard-working practice nurse who is popular with everyone on campus. Her considerable medical knowledge, experience and natural empathy means a visit to the campus medical unit is a pleasant one for the students at IT Carlow and we are delighted that her talents are being recognised nationally”.

Theresa is no stranger to awards. In 2019, she was awarded the Irish Practice Nurses Association (IPNA) Educational Research Award as well as the Nursing Project of the Year Award at the Irish Healthcare Centre Awards. She was shortlisted for the Practice Nurse of the Year Award at the GP Buddy Awards in 2018 and 2019, and was commended for the Practice Nurse of the Year at the Irish Healthcare Awards 2019.

Theresa also produced the ‘Student Health Matters’ eBook (2019), which was endorsed by the Irish Student Health Association and is project lead and lead author of the ISHA ‘Student Health Matters’ App (2020), the first-of-its-kind resource for 3rd level college students in Ireland. She was also a content developer and editor of the recently released Coronavirus Support App UK, for which she worked with a team of leading UK health professionals, academics, topic experts and members of the public.

A Carlow native and past pupil of St Leo’s College, Carlow, Theresa is a graduate of Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH), The Open University, NUI Maynooth (NUIM), The University of Surrey, St. Mary’s Teacher Training University College London and RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. She is a registered teacher with the Teaching Council of Ireland, an IUHPE registered health promotion practitioner and a registered nurse prescriber (RNP).

Theresa, a member of the IPNA expert educational panel involved in producing an online educational CPD series for General Practice Nurses was also elected as the National PRO for the Irish Practice Nurses Association in November 2020.

Theresa has a vast background and experience in both secondary and primary care. She has 37 years’ experience in clinical nursing practice, combining her practice with 16 years in educational, teaching and lecturing roles. She has a PhD and has published a number of books and medical journal articles. She is a regular contributor to the Medical Independent, Update Journal and Nursing in General Practice Journal and has had over 40 academic articles published on a wide range of medical topics in the past two years. Some of her academic work has been used to create CPD modules for General Practice Nurse’s continuous education and professional development.