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:
— Andrew Jones (@GrrrrJones) May 13, 2015
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?