The Only National Awards For Non-Medical / Non-Clinical NHS Staff & Volunteers

Every once in a while, you meet someone really special…

3rd June 2019

… and in this instance that someone is Karen Shields, Porter – Mortuary Assistant.  The UHA had the great honour of meeting Karen for the second time last Friday, 24th May, when we visited Borders General Hospital, Melrose, Scotland (video coming soon!). 

Karen Shieldswinning at the 2019 Unsung Hero Awards for Everyday Hero in Ancillary  

We went to interview Karen and get her reaction first-hand on becoming the National Everyday Unsung Hero in the Ancillary Staff Category. 
We first met Karen at the Unsung Hero Awards 2019 when we welcomed her on stage at the fabulous Hilton Hotel, Manchester, alongside one of our judges, Dale Jeffers, who presented Karen with her award. 

From left to right – Dale Jeffers (UHA Judge), Karen Shields and yours truly! 

Karen was nominated for an award by Sandra Henwood, Spiritual Care Co-ordinator at Borders General Hospital who said of Karen in her nomination text:

“Karen Shields may be hidden away in a very quiet corner of the hospital (the mortuary), but this little space is filled with care and compassion because of one person and that is Karen. We all have a dread of the mortuary and any family or friend coming to visit their loved one has the same fears. Karen understands these fears and she explaines everything in such a way that you feel your loved one is being cared for in this cold and scary place. 

Karen deals with the deceased daily and ages can range from 0 to 100 years. One of the worst things she must deal with is the loss of a baby during pregnancy, which is one of the most unimaginable painful things to happen to any mum/parent. Karen’s thoughtfulness and compassion in working with families and processes, and giving hospital staff timely information to ensure smooth transition so that funeral arrangements can be made, helps families feel assured that everything is being done to support them through this awful time.

I have known Karen for a number of years and in all this time no problem has been too great for her to cope with. Her patience and attention to detail have created a bond that would be difficult to share with someone else in this field.  

I highly recommend Karen for an Unsung Hero Award – not everyone could do her job, in fact, most of us couldn’t. She deserves the praise and thanks of all who have come in contact with her.” 

 Well done Karen Shields – a true Unsung Hero of non-medical staff in the NHS. 

Don Tomlinson

Managing Director – max20 and Founder of the Unsung Hero Awards