A DEVOTED nurse at the Highlands' biggest hospital is competing to win a prestigious national award.
Mandi Smith (41), a lead specialist heart failure nurse at Raigmore Hospital's Coronary Care Unit, is one of just three nominees chosen from across Scotland shortlisted for the Care for Long Illness Award at the Scottish Health Awards.
The patient who nominated her has claimed that the care and treatment Mandi gave her may have helped save her life.
She said: "My heart nurse has been my support, my guidance and a shoulder to cry on. I would not have coped so well without her. If ever anyone was deserving of an award, undoubtedly it must be Mandi."
Mother-of-two Mandi said she was shocked to receive the nomination, and that her team at the hospital are delighted.
Mandi, from Fearn, near Tain, said: "I knew nothing about it until last week. The fact that a patient has taken the time to do this for me is incredible, it really makes you feel good about yourself.
"It is special because the patient's family helped nominate me as well. I always try to involve the family as much as possible, because they suffer too. There is no cure for heart failure, and it can be very difficult for everybody involved to come to terms with it."
Mandi will travel to the ceremony in Edinburgh's Corn Exchange on November 10 with her colleague Lynne King, who helps organise times for Mandi and her team to speak to families of patients at the unit.
Mandi said: "I am still getting over being nominated, but I am looking forward to the glitzy ceremony in Edinburgh.
"The most important thing is that we keep working the way we are here. Caring for patients is my job, it's what I do and I can't stress enough how wonderful it feels to be recognised."
Anne Gent, NHS Highland director of human resources, said the nomination has lifted the mood of the hospital staff.
She said: "We are delighted for Mandi. We have an excellent workforce and we value the work they do throughout the year, but having them nominated like this gives the whole organisation a boost."
Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Health Secretary, said: "I'd like to congratulate those shortlisted for their commitment to improving the quality of care delivered by our NHS."
Mandi is shortlisted with Andrew Anderson, head of Maggie's Caring Centre, Edinburgh, and Phyllis Nicoll, an immunology nurse specialist from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.