Nokuthula, who works on a mental health ward, was given the award by the British Journal of Nursing.

Nokuthula received the award as she marked 30 years as a nurse dedicated to caring for others.

The award comes as the trust launches the Oxford School of Nursing and Midwifery dedicated to the highest quality educational and clinical research experience in partnership with Oxford Brooks University and NHS partners Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Over five years, Nokuthula has also led research and practice to reduce the number of times patients return late from leave, with the support of the Oxford Academic Health Science Network.

The result is that patient’s attitudes to leave have changed, and punctuality improved by 50 per cent, as patient perception of the leave planning and management process have changed from seeing it as restrictive to a compassionate part of their care.

The approach has been adopted across the trust, as well as by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.

She has worked at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust for the past 17 years and is currently a modern matron at the Warneford Hospital in Oxford.

Nokuthula is an inspirational leader who motivates others with her passion, compassion and commitment to patients while leading nursing research to improve care for patients.

She said: “I’m still in shock. Being a nurse – that’s what I’m proud of. I’m committed to nursing – I couldn’t be anything else. I love it so much: every day is never the same.”

I believe that if you can make a change for someone, and they go home, and they say “thank you” that for me is the best thing.
Nokuthula Ndimande

Consultant Dr Olga-Maria Tsatalou said: “Nokuthula is one of the most exceptional extraordinary people I’ve worked with.”

“She has dedicated all her life to helping others. I couldn’t think of anyone who could deserve this award more than Noki.”

“She is the most modest person I could work with. She is so committed to nursing, so self-sacrificing and committed to patient care and capable of getting things done.”

“For Noki to have won this award is one of the most heartening things that could have happened.”

Nokuthula has been celebrating her win with patients and colleagues on Allen Ward at the Warneford Hospital and is adamant she could not have achieved success without an amazing team of colleagues.