A South Tyneside nurse has scooped a top national award after swapping paintbrushes for toothbrushes.
Adrian Anim, who works in the field of adult learning disability for South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, has been crowned Primary Care Nurse of the Year.
He was the judges’ unanimous choice at the inaugural Primary Care Awards 2015 after he met all of the criteria, which included demonstrating outstanding patient care and a passion for public health.
Mr Anim started his nursing degree at Northumbria University at the age of 40, having previously worked as a painter and decorator.
He said: “I am still in shock. I haven’t been in nursing very long and the other finalists had done so much so it is amazing and a great honour to have won this award.
“I left school with no qualifications so going to university was a big deal for me and I found it really difficult at times but the hard work paid off and I am now doing a job I love and which is incredibly rewarding.
“Hopefully, my experience might show other people that it’s never too late to change your life.”
Mr Anim’s work has included carrying out a pilot programme to improve the oral health of people with a learning disability by working closely with primary care dental colleagues to help enable access to dental services.
Steve Williamson, the Trust’s chief executive, said: “I am delighted that Adrian has been given such a prestigious award.
“He is a fantastic role model for his profession. He is compassionate, caring and innovative in his practice as he works to support people with a learning disability to achieve positive outcomes in their lives.”
The award is the latest in a string of successes for Mr Anim.
This summer, he was a recipient of the prestigious Heath Award, given to a select number of Northumbria University graduates for their efforts in both practice and theory while training to become nurses and midwives.
He also received an award at his graduation for best academic student and, in 2014, he was a finalist in the Learning Disabilities category of the Student Nursing Times Student Awards.