Wednesday, 31 October, 2001, 08:41 GMT
A nurse whose work helps multiple sclerosis patients cope with their pain has won the UK profession's top award.
Amanda Howarth, from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, was awarded the Nurse 2001 trophy on Tuesday.
She initiated and developed a nurse-led pain management service at the hospital's MS clinic.
Ms Howarth carried out research which showed that just under three-quarters of MS patients attending the clinic suffered some kind of pain.
Despite this, pain is one MS symptom which can be overlooked by doctors.
Ms Howarth was unable to find another centre in the UK which dealt with the problem with a specialist service.
At the Royal Hallamshire, she not only carried out her exploratory study, but coordinated a pilot project and even went to Canada to see a similar project in action.
The Sheffield project now assesses patients and comes up with individual treatments for them.
These may involve complementary therapies and the team also carries out home visits.
She said: "Patients are now having their pain addressed by a specialist with the time, knowledge and resources to assist them.
"We have received very positive feedback from patients and carers who feel they are listened to about a problem that was largely dismissed in the past.
"We know when people are more relaxed they don't experience so much pain."
Ms Howarth, who won the "medical nursing" category as well as the overall "Nurse of the Year" title, received a cheque for £3,000 from Health Secretary Alan Milburn.
Linda Thomas, Editor-in-Chief at Nursing Standard, which is sponsoring the awards, said: "Amanda epitomises what informed nursing is all about.
"She is highly motivated, enthusiastic and an inspiration to others."
The other category winners in the awards were: