"I feel it is my duty to share my knowledge with my colleagues in low and middle income countries." - Fiona Stephenson

Prime Minister Theresa May has recognised Fiona Stephenson, spinal cord injury nurse and Motivation volunteer, for her outstanding contribution to the disability sector.

Spinal cord injury nurse, Fiona Stephenson from Dorset, has truly dedicated her life to supporting disabled people all over the world. She co-founded the International Network of Spinal Cord Injury Nurses, and has volunteered in many developing countries including Haiti and Nepal, passing her expertise on to medical staff and patients.

Fiona had an incredible impact on Motivation’s work in Sri Lanka, where she shared her practical skills and specialist knowledge with hospital staff who had received no formal spinal cord injury training. Her work included everything from bladder and bowel management, to positioning and posture, to preventing pressure sores. She also worked in a more pastoral care role, helping with therapy and peer-to-peer training programmes.

Fiona’s hard work and commitment has ensured that many disabled people in Sri Lanka are now healthy, independent and active - free to live the life they choose. It has also resulted in two local training colleges integrating spinal cord injury nursing into their rehabilitation schemes and a group of Sri Lankan nurses setting up their own association.

A Points of Light award winner

In 2016, Fiona was awarded a Royal College of Nursing Fellowship, recognising her exceptional commitment to advancing spinal cord injury nursing and improving health care in the developing world.

This week, she has been recognised once more by the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who has presented her with a Points of Light award.

In a personal letter to Fiona, Theresa May said:

“The training you have provided around the world is supporting nurses and other medics to acquire the specialist skills needed to care for patients with spinal cord injuries. Your work is inspiring professionals to integrate spinal cord nursing into training, and transforming the lives of patients.”

Points of Light awards are given to inspirational individuals who are making a positive impact in their communities, and we couldn’t be more proud of Fiona for winning one.

Fiona is one of just six volunteers who have been celebrated to coincide with the first ever Global Disability Summit in London this week, co-hosted by the UK Government. The summit saw governments, donors, organisations and disabled individuals gather to find solutions that will change the lives of people with disabilities worldwide.

As part of the build up to the summit, Fiona attended a discussion hosted by Lord Bates, Minister of State for International Development, where she was presented with her award.

“I am absolutely thrilled to receive this award and could not have achieved this without the support of so many people,” Fiona told us. “I am very lucky to have been trained in the UK as a nurse and I feel it is my duty to share my knowledge with my colleagues in low and middle income countries who strive to enhance the care of their patients.”

Thank you, Fiona

From everyone here at Motivation, a huge thank you to Fiona for your dedication, time and effort, and congratulations!

If you would like to talk to Motivation about volunteering opportunities, click here.