The trust, which runs The James Cook University Hospital, the Friarage Hospital and a range of community services, had six finalists at the prestigious event at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London – more than any other trust.
The cardiovascular team were nominated for successfully integrating acute and community heart failure specialist nurse services.
Cardiac rehabilitation manager Annette Johnson said: “We’re delighted to receive this award. It’s great recognition for the team as they have all worked so hard to make sure every heart failure patient receives the highest quality care.
“The changes have been challenging but they have enabled us to increase access to heart failure services and combine resources.”
Audrey saw off tough competition from across the country to claim the nurse leader title.
The senior nurse was nominated not only for providing excellent care in speciality medicine but also for changing culture – one of the key aspects of the Francis report.
Judges heard how Audrey has a unique ability to instil confidence in individuals and recently helped transform the cancer inpatient ward into a centre of excellence.
“I’m overwhelmed and very proud to receive this accolade,” she said. “I have been privileged to work with some fantastic teams at South Tees and there are many people that have supported me both personally and professionally throughout my career.
“A huge thank you goes to the division of specialty medicine, I am proud to be the senior nurse in a division that has embraced change and we truly are now as a team a centre of excellence for care, compassion, courage, commitment, competence and communication.”
Dr Nicholas Bradbury, nursing and midwifery programme lead at the NHS Leadership Academy, added: “We are delighted with Audrey’s achievement in winning this award. Audrey actually enrolled on one of our nursing and midwifery development programmes in April this year and we are really proud of her continued success.
“As a sponsor of the Nurse Leader of the Year category, we feel that Audrey really does embody the leadership qualities, which through our development programmes, we aim to bring out in every one of our participants – she is an excellent role model who demonstrates commitment to her role and compassion to her patients.”
The Nursing Times Awards are the most prestigious and coveted awards for the nursing profession, bringing together the best of the industry for a glittering evening of recognition, celebration and networking.
Jenni Middleton, Nursing Times editor said: “We received a fantastic number of high-standard entries this year – a reflection of the pride nursing professionals have in their vital work.”