Bereavement Midwife Christa Burgess Awarded with Cavell Star Award

A bereavement midwife at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) has been presented with a Cavell Star Award, in recognition of her exceptional care for families who have experienced the loss of a child. 

Cavell Star Awards are an inspiring new national programme, presented to nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who go above and beyond their role. The Awards are nominated by colleagues, patients and patient’s families.

Karen Turner, a regular volunteer at Zephyr’s Charity, nominated Christa for the Cavell Star Award after being introduced to the charity by her almost two years ago.

Karen said: “Christa is so much more than a bereavement nurse – she’s a friend to everybody. No one is more deserving of this award than Christa and I’m sure I speak on behalf of many when I say that the emotional support that she provides is priceless.”

Zephyr’s offers loving care and support to families who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or the death of a baby or child. Funded by the Nottingham Hospitals Charity, Zephyr’s is based in a bespoke environment in the grounds of Nottingham City Hospital, providing a quiet and peaceful place for families to talk about their loss.

Barbara Cathcart, Chief Executive of Nottingham Hospitals Charity, said: “We are delighted to hear that Christa has received this award. The support she gives to bereaved families that come to our Zephyr’s centre is invaluable and she is an extremely well-regarded member of the Zephyr’s team. It takes someone very special to provide the comfort and support that Christa does for families who are going through an extremely difficult time.”

Enhancing the clinical support already available for parents and families at NUH, Zephyr’s is open for hospital staff to use when meeting bereaved families, as well as GPs, health professionals and community groups. Christa regularly meets with families at Zephyr’s, and attends the HOPE group to support parents who are expecting a baby again, after a loss. 

Carly Williams, Zephyr’s Project Manager, said: “Christa is just amazing. There’s nothing she won’t do to support families going through a bereavement of a baby or child, there really is no one else like her.

“For many she is a main point of contact and provides an important relationship with families outside of doctors and clinicians. It is an honour to present this award to her in a place where she means so much to many people, she completely deserves this recognition.”

Christa was presented with her Cavell Award in a surprise ceremony today (6 March), at the Zephyr’s Centre. Presenting the medal was Karen, the volunteer who nominated Christa for the prize.

Upon receiving her award, Christa said: “It was a complete shock to receive the Cavell Award today. I didn’t expect it at all and it’s amazing that so many people came to Zephyr’s today to present me with it. I’m extremely grateful for the Award and to Karen for nominating me, as well as Zephyr’s for providing such an important space for so many people.”

Christa also spoke about how Zephyr’s helps those in times of need. She said: “It’s so important to have a place where families can come and talk to other families. Zephyr’s provides a comforting space where they can be honest and talk about things they might not feel able to talk to other families about.”

Christa has worked at NUH for eight years as a midwife, and for four years as a bereavement midwife. She was also involved in the planning stages of the purpose-built Zephyr’s centre, where she has helped families since it opened its doors almost two years ago. Her dedications to the families who use NUH’s bereavement services have also seen her recognised as Midwife of the Year 2018 at the national Nurse and Midwife of the Year Awards.

Sharon Dickinson, Director of Midwifery at (NUH) said: “We are delighted to see Christa presented with the Cavell Award and I am immensely proud and humbled by her humility and relentless support for families who have experienced a pregnancy loss or bereavement.  She works incredibly hard, providing care and compassion for families who are going through incredibly difficult experiences. Christa is truly unique and it is wonderful to see her recognised by this award.”

Midwife Kirsty Rogers and Emma Kelly - a Transitional Care Worker – have also been awarded Cavell Star Awards this month. They were nominated by Jo Disney-Spiers, Professional Midwifery Associate at NUH, for providing outstanding support beyond their everyday roles to patients and colleagues.

Kirsty was the driving force behind new ‘Ten at Ten’ meetings within her team, which provide midwifery staff the chance to gather briefly with their peers and support each other and share their workload – with tea and cake.

Recognised also for excelling in her role, Emma was nominated for providing emotional support to a distressed patient in a time of need.

More information can be found about Zephyr’s Charity here.