A NURSE who started as a care assistant with no formal qualifications, but now oversees the running of the home, has been shortlisted for a national award.

Emma Watkins, 32, is deputy manager of College Fields Nursing Home in Barry where she has worked for the past decade and become a popular figure with staff, residents and their families.

She has been praised for breaking down the stigma often attached to the care industry, such is her commitment to ensuring residents maintain their dignity and independence, while also carrying out research so she can regularly train and develop colleagues to provide the best possible standard of care, while keeping her practice up to date.

Her passion and dedication for College Fields and its residents has been evident in the last 12 months where she has not missed a single day of work despite juggling her job with caring for her mum who was left paralysed after an accident at home.

Her rise from care assistant to a leader in the home has led her to being nominated in the Independent Sector Nurse of the Year Award in the 15th annual Wales Care Awards which takes place at Cardiff's City Hall on Friday, October 19.

Care Forum Wales awards has been dubbed the “Oscars” of the care industry as it acknowledges the hard work and exceptional performances of those in the sector.

Mrs Watkins, who lives in St Athan with husband Steven, said: “I nearly cried when I found out I had been nominated.

“I was so overwhelmed and really happy.

“I honestly didn’t expect it because it’s such a hard category.

“The home has been so supportive to me and the staff are fantastic.

“I love working here.

“I’ve had so many good times here but the highlight for me will be the care awards.

“It’s getting that recognition that you’re doing the job the best you can.

“I feel like I’m only doing what I should be doing so for them to be saying that I’m going above and beyond is amazing.”

Emma began working at College Fields as a care assistant in 2008 and over the past decade has embarked on journey that has led her to the role of deputy manager.

The former Barry College and Cardiff University student completed her nursing degree while working at the home and went on to become a floor manager before landing her latest post.

Care home manager Helen Randall said: “Emma is passionate about learning and putting into practice what she has learned to benefit our residents, staff and visitors.

“Emma breaks down the stigma of what life is in a care home for those who live and visit and for those in the local community.

“She always maintains residents’ dignity and promotes independence.”