Homelessness nurses make photo prize shortlist


Posted on Tuesday 26 April 2016
Kendra Schneller and Rachel Smith 2

Kendra Schneller (left) and Rachel Smith (right) with some of their shortlisted photos

Two nurses working with London's most vulnerable people have had their photographs shortlisted for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Care on Camera Award.

Kendra Schneller and Rachel Smith, who work for Guy's and St Thomas' health inclusion team, entered the competition to highlight the challenges faced by community nurses caring for homeless people, refugees, asylum seekers, and drug and alcohol users.

The duo’s three photographs are among just 50 images shortlisted from more than 800 entries to tour the UK as part of an exhibition to celebrate the RCN’s centenary.

The competition's winners will be chosen by a panel of judges and there is also a 'People's Choice' award for the public to cast their vote for the photograph that best represents nursing in 2016.

Nurse practitioner Kendra has two photos - 'Open all hours' and 'Help...I need somebody...Not just anybody' – on the shortlist.

She says: "Homeless people move around a lot so we never know when we will see them again. So we've become a one-stop shop.

"We may be dressing an ulcer, taking bloods or prescribing medication but we're also making use of that opportunistic moment to address other issues like getting them new clothes or giving advice on sharing needles."

Community nurse specialist Rachel's photo, 'Building Trust - Homeless Nursing Outreach’, shows a nurse with a homeless man in a day centre.

Rachel says: "The average age of death for homeless men in the UK is 47. These groups are often called ‘hard to reach’ because, even when you find them, gaining trust can be the biggest hurdle."

Dame Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse at Guy's and St Thomas', says: "Kendra and Rachel's shortlisting is a fantastic achievement. Their photos show how far the role of the nurse has come in 100 years.

"The Health Inclusion team use the advanced nursing skills of a modern nurse to support people who are destitute or trapped in a difficult cycle that greatly impacts on their health. Well done to them for raising the profile of this very important area of work."

You can vote for Kendra and Rachel's photos at www.rcn100photo.org.uk/events/.

The vote closes at 5pm on Tuesday 31 May. The winners will be announced at the RCN's annual Congress on Saturday 18 June.

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