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Ysbyty Gwynedd nurse invited to Queen's Garden Party in honour of her work

A nurse with more than 40 years of NHS service has been recognised for her hard work and dedication with an invitation to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Sonya Edwards began her career in 1979 as a student nurse at St David’s School of Nursing and at the C & A Hospital before joining Ysbyty Gwynedd. She was appointed the first Senior Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit and later the first Acute Pain Specialist Nurse in the hospital in 2000.

Sonya recently attended the Garden Party with her husband after being nominated by one of her colleagues from the hospital. 

She said: “It was an amazing experience and such an honour and a privilege to be invited.

“At first I thought I had been invited by mistake and that the invite I received was a scam! I rang the number on the invite and it took for them to call me back a second time to believe it was real!

Sonya, who retired from the nursing profession earlier this year, said she feels lucky to have worked with such dedicated colleagues over the years.

She said: “I’ve had wonderful opportunities throughout my career to study academically as well as clinically. I have loved all aspects of my work, from being the first senior nurse on the Intensive Care Unit, to a change in speciality to provide a new service of acute pain management with Dr Ian Johnson at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

“I was able to study for a MSc in Pain Management in 2006 and I’ve had the privilege of working with amazing colleagues who are extremely caring. Mostly I have enjoyed being able to help develop a new essential service that benefits and enhances the care that patients receive as well and supports the clinical teams.

“Team work, respect and collaboration are essential for success and the inclusive culture that has been Anaesthetics and Ysbyty Gwynedd I hold very dear.”

As well as developing services within the hospital Sonya was also instrumental within the community and in her own time helped the North Wales Mountain Rescue teams develop novel analgesia (painkillers) to treat seriously injured patients in a very challenging environment.

Consultant Anaesthetist and Ysbyty Gwynedd Deputy Medical Director, Dr Johnson, who has worked with Sonya for over 20 years, said: “Sonya has provided outstanding teaching and training over the years to a wide range of nurses, doctors and other health professionals across the hospital to make sure her high standards can persist even when she is not present.

“She leaves behind her a highly regarded nurse-led service respected across the hospital and wider community which is seen as providing gold standard care and a professional approach to some of the most challenging patients in pain.

“In addition to the acute pain service, her legacy within the hospital will be the many nursing staff who have worked with her or been taught by Sonya and have allowed some her passion, dedication, enthusiasm and balanced professionalism to reflect in their daily practice.”

Surgical Matron at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Sandra Robinson-Clark, added: “Sonya has truly been a role model for nursing and nurses throughout her career; respected by staff and patients alike.

“She has been an inspiration to all who have worked with her. Sharing her knowledge, experience and wisdom with nursing colleagues and her enthusiasm and passion for nursing has been infectious.

“Her compassionate leadership has been evident in the senior positions she has held in Critical Care, Endoscopy’s Day Surgery Unit and latterly in the Acute Pain team.

“Central to the delivery of her senior roles Sonya strived to develop and improve the service to enhance patient care, ensuring delivery and maintenance of high standards of nursing.

“She will be dearly missed at Ysbyty Gwynedd. We wish her a happy and healthy retirement!”