A specialist diabetes nurse in Southampton has won a national award for her work - saying it 'meant the world' to her.

Paula Johnston is the lead inpatient diabetes nurse at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) and was named healthcare professional of the year at the Quality in Care (QiC) Diabetes Awards, held at pharmaceutical giant Sanofi’s UK headquarters in Reading.

The awards aim to recognise the leaders in diabetes management, education and services for people with the condition and their families.

READ MORE: Southampton nurse shortlisted for 2023 Nursing Times Award

Mrs Johnston said: "Winning this award has meant the world to me.

“I am passionate about working within diabetes and being recognised in this way has made me so proud.

“I love working at UHS and my team really are like a work family. I have made so many friends through my work within diabetes that I feel really privileged and I cannot imagine doing anything else.”

Mrs Johnston was one of five clinicians shortlisted and voted for by professionals nationwide.

She was nominated by UHS colleagues Dr Mayank Patel, consultant in diabetes, and Philip Newland-Jones, consultant pharmacist in diabetes and endocrinology and clinical lead.

In recent years Mrs Johnston has completed a Master of Science degree in diabetes as well as the Tomorrow’s Leaders course with Diabetes UK.

She has also just started the professional nurse advocate course.

She served on the committee for the Royal College of Nursing diabetes forum from 2019 to 2023 and has just been announced as vice-chair for the diabetes inpatient specialist nurse group (DISN).

She has also worked nationally as a genetic diabetes specialist nurse, was project manager for the UHS insulin self-administration project and is now a qualified non-medical prescriber.