Award categories

About the categories

The eight monthly award categories are described below, giving clear examples of previous winners and how the categories can be interpreted. Each section also shows the scoring criteria that will be used - this will help you fine-tune your nomination.

If you require any further guidance, please contact us on 01202 277085. We will be pleased to help you select a category for your nomination.

Monthly winners for the eight categories are automatically put forward for the annual awards. There are five additional categories for the annual awards also listed below. Information about annual award nominations and event.

Monthly award: Respect and dignity

Respect and dignity:

Individuals or teams who recognise that everyone plays a vital part within Dorset HealthCare. They are always approachable, open minded and non-judgmental. They value each person as an individual, actively listening and seeking to understand individual priorities, needs, abilities, and limits.

Clinical examples:
  • A Rehab Assistant who identifies with all patients on an individual level, ensuring everyone is able to access the service and receive the best possible care.
  • A Palliative Care Nurse who strives to achieve the highest standard of support and care to a patient and their families. They take time to listen and support both the patient and their family, going above and beyond in their care.

Non-clinical examples:
  • A Receptionist who is always open-minded and non-judgmental, who has a smile every day, for every patient, family member, carer and colleague.
  • The Occupational Health Team who support staff returning to work by offering support and guidance to ensure realistic goals in phased return.

Scoring criteria:
  1. Goes above and beyond to ensure patients, families, colleagues or others are valued as individuals
  2. Evidences ways in which others are included / recognised, for the benefit of the patient, family, team, service or individuals
  3. Goes above what is expected to ensure the feelings and wishes of others are met

Monthly award: Commitment to quality of care

Commitment to quality of care:

Individuals or teams who show an exemplary commitment to quality of care through learning from mistakes, patient safety initiatives and ensuring that the highest quality of care is achieved every day. Quality of care is demonstrated through clinical effectiveness and patient experience, or through provision of quality services in non-clinical disciplines.

Clinical Examples:
  • A Staff Nurse who plays a key role in supporting a particular challenging project. They are a role model for giving and receiving feedback, enabling themselves and others to improve their care and practice.
  • A team who have taken on board feedback from service users to develop the effectiveness of the care they provide, learning from previous experiences to move forward in delivering the highest quality of care.

Non-Clinical Examples:
  • An Outpatient Receptionist who is always friendly and helpful and is committed to offering the highest level of support and information to patients.
  • A member of the Quality team who actively help front line teams and their colleagues in times of need. They help teams provide the best possible care by providing advice, support and guidance.

Scoring criteria:
  1. Provides evidence of ongoing commitment to the quality of care or service provided, over and above what is expected
  2. Demonstrates evidence of learning from mistakes, quality improvement projects/activities or simply ongoing daily commitment to patients / customers, over and above expected service level
  3. Provides evidence of impact / improvement in patient experience, clinical effectiveness or service delivery

Monthly award: Compassion and kindness

Compassion and kindness:

An individual award for staff who search for the things they can do, however small, to give comfort and relieve suffering. Staff who find time for patients, carers, families, colleagues and work alongside them. They do not wait to be asked, because they care.

Clinical Examples:
  • An Auxiliary Nurse who is deeply caring and compassionate. Patients feel safe and important under her care and her attention to detail is second to none. She remains calm under pressure and regularly receives 'Thank You' cards from patients and family members.
  • A Physiotherapist who has gone above and beyond to ensure that a patient is able to return to their home after hospital. They have supported and given confidence to both the patient and their family, liaising with other services to ensure that the patients’ needs are catered for. They have built a relationship of trust with all involved, highlighting their caring nature and desire to help others.

Non-Clinical Examples:
  • An admissions officer who is friendly and professional making the booking process into hospital as smooth as possible for patient and clinician.
  • An Administrative Apprentice who keeps an eye on and is aware of their colleagues' wellbeing, they have set up a walking group, help team members in time of stress and encourage people to take breaks. They are thoughtful of others and always there to lend a hand.

Scoring criteria
  1. Demonstrates going the extra mile for patients/carers/families/colleagues
  2. Evidence of self-motivation to achieve tasks
  3. Evidence of going above and beyond their duties

Monthly award: Improving lives

Improving Lives:

Individuals and teams who strive to improve health and wellbeing and people’s experiences of the NHS. This may be demonstrated through clinical practice, service improvements, use of feedback or innovation.

Clinical Example:
  • Teams running projects to improve lives for example the Hydrant Project has recently worked in partnership across the Trust with services including Wheelchair Service, District Nurses and ICRT at Wimborne to offer any service user at risk of dehydration the use of a hydrant drinking system. This helps those with limited mobility to access drinks.
  • A Physiotherapist who promotes open and continuous feedback across the team, service and individuals. They are accountable for their behaviour and respond quickly to mistakes when things go wrong.

Non-Clinical Example:
  • A member of the PALS team who handle complaints in a professional manner and reassure patients they are being listened to and understood.
  • A Ward Clerk who evaluates feedback from service users and has come up with and actioned ideas to improve the experience of patients and carers visiting the ward.

Scoring criteria
  1. Demonstrates a commitment to continual improvement to achieve excellence in delivering services
  2. Gives a clear example of how improvements to service delivery have been made through innovation, research, service improvement project, or use of feedback
  3. Demonstrates how their work has made the lives of patients, families or carers better, or have improved working lives for individuals, teams or stakeholders

Monthly award: Working together for patients

Working together for patients:

This category is a partnership or team award where a group consistently support one another to achieve great things, in line with the organisation's goals. They continuously seek to improve their service and make a real difference to the people they come into contact with. Teams may be from a clinical or non-clinical specialism.

  • A team who work together to provide outstanding care and support to the patients and each other. Continually looking for ways to improve patient experience whether they are clinical or non-clinical staff.
  • An individual (clinical or non-clinical) who embraces change and seeks out new ways to improve processes / services.

Scoring criteria:
  1. Provides evidence of team work or partnership working that may support other staff / stakeholders to support patients to the best of their ability
  2. Demonstrates an improvement to a service or group of people
  3. Demonstrates how the team / partnership have achieved organisational goals by putting the needs of the patients / families / staff / customers / stakeholders first

Monthly award: Everyone counts

Everyone Counts:

Individuals or teams who actively engage different teams and people, to get their ideas and input on possible changes, ensuring everyone's views and ideas are taken into consideration. They treat everyone as individuals and strive to help anyone who needs it, ensuring that no-one is excluded.

Clinical Example:
  • A team who have developed a service to ensure that all areas of Dorset HealthCare can be reached, ensuring that care is available consistently across Dorset. For example the development of Contraception and Sexual Health Services in Dorset developing an outreach service in schools and colleges. This dynamic outreach approach provides regular contact for vulnerable young people who would otherwise not have their needs met.
  • An Assistant Psychologist who has showcased recent research across teams, services and organisations, presenting at a national conference and proactively sharing the findings across service and organisational boundaries.

Non-Clinical Example:
  • An Administration Assistant who understands the need of the patient for example whether they require an interpreter or literature to be sent in an alternative language to ensure language barriers are eliminated.
  • A HR Administrator who ensures they redirect and help people with their queries, even when it doesn’t fall under their remit. They never say ‘it’s not me’ or ‘it’s not my job’.

Scoring criteria
  1. Provides evidence of treating everyone as individuals, ensuring that everyone is able to contribute and views are taken into account
  2. Demonstrates engaging with different teams and individuals to make improvements, reducing waste / increasing efficiency for all patients, staff, customers, or stakeholder groups.
  3. Demonstrates understanding individual needs and identifies new ways in which to meet those needs. This may include hard to reach patient or staff groups or those with additional needs

Monthly award: Being a learning organisation

Being a learning organisation:

An individual or team, who relishes and seeks out opportunities to learn and develop, has shown dedication and determination in their learning, and uses their learning to improve service delivery. This category could recognise either mentors, learners, or students, or could be in recognition of research or learning from events, performance measures or national guidance.

Clinical Example:
  • Mentors who provide support and guidance to those who are training. Sharing their knowledge and experience to support a team member to grow in confidence and make the right choices for their future.
  • An experienced Health Visitor who empowers people to grow within their role and actively assists in peoples personal development, sharing their experience, providing constructive feedback and supporting people to have the time to learn.

Non-Clinical Example:
  • A member of administration staff who identifies an area of study to develop skills to support their area of work further.
  • A manager who develops career progression pathways and opportunities within their service. Ensuring all team members benefit from on the job and additional training for their own personal development, and to help them improve the service they provide.

Scoring criteria:
  1. Evidence of using learning to improve service delivery
  2. Evidence of seeking our learning opportunities using their own initiative
  3. Demonstrates supporting others through learning. This could be through targeted development / training opportunities, mentoring, or coaching

Monthly award: Bank worker

Bank Worker:

This award is for individuals who demonstrate reliability, commitment and continuing excellence at work. They are flexible and learn the ropes in each new assignment quickly. They are able to carry out tasks effectively, despite the short term nature of their role. They are individuals who go above and beyond what is expected of them every day they work at Dorset HealthCare and wherever their placement may take them.

Clinical Examples:
  • A Health Care Assistant who is extremely adaptable and flexible in responding to the changing needs of bank work. They are always available at short notice, adapt to the different ward environments well and help us provide the best possible care we can. They are always smiling and positive in their approach.
  • A Sexual Health Bank Nurse who has helped the service target hard to reach groups in the short time they have been with the service. They have helped ensure everyone has access to the service and provided key support in a time of staff shortages.

Non-Clinical Examples:
  • A Bank Project Officer who has played a key role in supporting a team through a particularly challenging project. Their organisation and administrative skills have been fundamental in the project being successful and has made the project a lot easier than it would have been.
  • A Bank Administrative Assistant who has brought constructive ideas to each of their assignments on how the services can improve their administrative processes. They have provided a set of new eyes and allowed services to resolve issues and speed up processes, using the knowledge they have gained from their various previous assignments

Scoring criteria:
  1. Demonstrates reliability and commitment, over and above expectations
  2. Evidences helping or improving a service beyond the duties required
  3. Evidences continual excellence at work, through their commitment to the quality of care or service provided, contributing to improvements in service delivery

Annual award: Team of the year

Team of the year

This award recognises the team who has gone the extra mile to consistently deliver an outstanding service throughout the year.

Scoring criteria:
  1. Evidence of a team who work extremely well together
  2. Demonstrates going the extra mile
  3. Evidence of supporting each other

Annual award: Leadership and management

Leadership and Management

This award recognises individuals who demonstrate highly effective and valued leadership or management of their team. This is for individuals who are an inspiration to others. They are outstanding in their role, lead by example and act with professionalism and integrity at all times. They are also approachable and supportive to colleagues and inspire them to develop and improve the services we provide.

Scoring criteria:
  1. Evidence of highly effective and valued leadership
  2. Evidence of leading by example
  3. Demonstrates approachability and supporting others

Annual award: Volunteer


This category recognises individuals who work tirelessly and generously give their time, enthusiasm and energy to help improve NHS services by supporting patients, visitors and their families.

Scoring criteria:
  1. Demonstrates enthusiasm and energy in their role
  2. Evidence of going above and beyond
  3. Evidence of continual commitment

Annual award: Outstanding contribution

Outstanding Contribution:

This award recognises individuals who have made an ongoing and outstanding contribution to Dorset HealthCare. These individuals could be our unsung heroes who always put their heart and soul into their work but rarely are recognised for the valuable contribution they make to the organisation. This award could also recognise individuals who have made a significant contribution to the national or international health agenda through research, best practice, innovative practices, development of a new service.

Scoring criteria
  1. Evidence of an ongoing, outstanding contribution
  2. Evidence of a high level of commitment to their role
  3. Demonstrates making a significant contribution

Annual award: Public and patient engagement (in collaboration with Healthwatch Dorset)

Public and patient engagement:

This award recognises a person or team that uses great engagement that’s led to great outcomes. For example, working with volunteers, supporting carers, using a co-production approach to improve patient experience, using the views of patients to help improve your service.

Scoring criteria:

  1. Evidence of effectively gathering patient experience and involving patients/carers.
  2. Demonstrates how quality and patient experience has been improved.
  3. Evidence of a continued commitment to co-production / involving service users.
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