Why this Sunderland stroke nurse is a true health hero

Susan Stockdale has cherished her 33 years in the health service.

Monday, 4th February 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 4:14 pm
Stroke Nurse Practitioner Susan Stockdale.

And there’s nothing she loves more than the job she is in now.

She is right at the heart of Sunderland Royal Hospital’s response to people suspected of having a stroke. It’s a demanding role which could see 10 patients come through the door, as well as 25 bleeps alerting her to people coming to hospital by ambulance.

Stroke Nurse Practitioner Susan Stockdale.

“The satisfaction I get out of it,” she said, “is making a difference and knowing that we are helping people every day.”

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That extends to more than just patients, said Susan. “It is the family and the loved ones and the extent of the emotion that comes through the door. It can be total devastation and you have to have an awareness of dealing with that.”

Families can be struggling to hold themselves together as they worry about their loved one but they show resilience and determination - and it is all with the help of Susan and her team.

“You have to have that approach where you are looking after everyone, but your main focus is the patient.”

Stroke Nurse Practitioner Susan Stockdale.

Susan started as a healthcare assistant in Ryhope in 1986 before becoming a community nurse, staff nurse and now her latest role as a stroke specialist nurse practitioner which she has held for seven years.

Once a stroke patient arrives, it is down to Susan to decide on the best and most appropriate treatment depending on criteria such as whether it’s a bleed or a clot on the brain.

But for Susan and her team, it is prompt and expert assessment which makes such a difference to the future of the patient.

She also praised the Best of Health Awards for the way they recognise those that go above and beyond.

“In every area of life, we need to pat each other on the back a bit more,” said Susan.

Susan is one of the great examples of health professionals who give such great service to the people of Wearside and County Durham.

We want you to nominate your own health heroes and here are some details of this year’s competition.


Once again the Shields Gazette and Sunderland Echo is holding the annual awards in partnership with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

The sponsors for this year’s awards include Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and East Coast Fitness.


The deadline for all nominations to be submitted is Friday, April 5, and the judges will meet the following week to decide on the shortlist.

The final will be held at the Roker Hotel, in Sunderland, on Thursday, May 9.


To nominate, send your name, address and phone number, as well as your email address, if applicable.

Send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).

Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into.

And send a detailed reason as to why you think your nominated person or organisation should be choen as the winner.

There are three ways you can nominate;

* Email those entries to lynn.wild@jpress.co.uk

* Send them to Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland, DH4 5RA.

* Nominate online. Visit the website at http://www.nehealthawards.co.uk


*GP or GP Practice of the Year.

*Dentist or Dental Practice of the Year.

*Pharmacist or Pharmacy of the Year.

*Hospital Doctor of the Year.

*Nurse of the Year.

*Optometrist of the Year.

*Therapist of the Year.

*Midwife of the Year.

*Care Worker of the Year.

*Customer Service/Unsung Hero of the Year.

*Community Healthcare Initiative Year.

*Healthier Lifestyle Award.

*Mental Wellbeing Award.

*Lifetime Achievement Award.