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Do student nurses need telling how great they are?

  • Comments (3)

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting our fourth Student Nursing Times Awards.

It’s always a highlight in the calendars of everyone who works at Nursing Times and I can safely say that we were nearly as excited as our finalists were to attend.

I say “nearly” because the sheer joy of being recognised and rewarded for your hard work is hard to beat.

Having read some of the entries and spoken to the judges I have no doubt that every single one of our finalists deserved that recognition. To be fair, all nurses and student nurses deserve to be thanked for their work but we would need a significantly bigger venue and a lot more champagne if we were to award everyone.

But how do these awards look to outsiders, to those who haven’t read the painstakingly written entries, who aren’t aware of how the winners have gone above-and-beyond to improve patient care?

I was saddened to see a tweet suggesting that as nursing is a vocation, awards are not necessary:


In a way, I do agree. Our winners didn’t achieve because they wanted an award, they achieved because they want to be good nurses and improve patient care. Awarding student nurses won’t make them work any harder - if it is even possible for them to do so.

But that isn’t the aim of the Student NT Awards.

Rewarding excellence shows student nurses that they are entering a supportive profession and they should be proud of what they achieve. I don’t just mean awards finalists, the fact that we feel it’s necessary to have awards specifically for students is testament to how their work is valued.

In a time when nursing continues to be undervalued by those in charge, isn’t recognition of nursing achievement exactly what we need?

  • Comments (3)

Readers' comments (3)

  • Pussy

    I don't think nursing is a vocation as we are not nuns and quite frankly to think so is a mockery.
    Student nurses are not great,they may turn out to be or they may not-who can say? Of course they work hard and so they should but they need to get over themselves and stop all this heart bleeding nonsense.

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  • I am in two minds over student nurse awards. On one hand, exceptional achievement should be recognised, and awards are an ideal way to do so. However I think often awards are a biased way of rewarding the strongest academic achievers, or those who have the personality to push their achievements into the limelight. I have worked with many student and qualified nurses who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and never expected recognition for their achievements. It does not mean they are not worthy of awards. Furthermore I think student nurse awards may offer an unrealistic sense of reward for good work to students entering the profession, as after qualification, this is not rewarded in the same way. Sometimes it is even percieved as unnoticed which may result in a lack of motivation and morale.
    Nursing is a team not an individual effort and individuals do not give good care experiences alone, but within a group of dedicated professionals. So it is important, I think, for students to realise this from an early stage. Also, nursing is a marathon not a sprint and outstanding achievements during training may not necessarily reflect the remainder of a student's career. On a negative note they encourage competition and a drive for perfection which should be motivated by patient experience and service improvement as opposed to individual gratification. Nursing is always about the patient first.
    However, in any other profession achievement is recognised so perhaps nursing should represent this too. My only fear is that the real achievers, nurses who are quiet about how well they perform, will remain unrecognised. If nurses and student nurses are to recieve awards it is vital the unsung heroes are also noticed along the way.

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  • Anonymous

    Can I just point out that you have the 'Footballer of the Year' award, Police(man) of the year award, Teacher of the year award, Awards for best musician, artist, actor... heck there's even a parliamentarian (Member of Parliament) of the year award.

    So why can't student nurses? If anything It makes me work harder knowing I might get awarded for it (I feel better anyway but the added incentive is nice) Chances of me getting an award are slim to none I know. But those who are awarded certainly deserve it. Going above and beyond should be commended whatever field you are in especially if it involves sacrificing your own wellbeing for those of others something which this 'Vocation' certainly does.

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