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'Let’s celebrate the next generation of nurses and the people who prepare them for practice'

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This Friday is one of those days of the year the Nursing Times team really look forward to. We will be hosting the annual Student Nursing Times Awards at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.

It was another record-breaking year for entries to the awards, which aim to celebrate excellence in students and those who teach them, with 607 entries – 17% more than last year’s 521.

I love all our events for the recognition they give to worthy organisations and individuals going the extra mile.

But the student awards stand out for the level of energy and positivity in the room. Maybe it is because they take place during the daytime; maybe it is the enthusiasm and idealism of those so far unaffected by workforce shortages.

Either way, they are a great celebration of profession’s next generation and the fact that many are already innovating and giving great care, despite having not qualified yet.

So, first of all, congratulations to all the student nurses, mentors and educators, universities and organisations that have made the 2019 Student Nursing Times Awards shortlist.

”I often find that some of the most inspiring and positive posts come from student nurses”

Also, well done to all the student nurses across the UK who are currently on their journey towards qualification.

As an avid observer of Twitter, I often find that some of the most inspiring and positive posts come from student nurses.

The problem, of course, is that we need more people like them – many, many more in fact.

As has been repeated regularly over the last couple of years, there are around 40,000 nurse vacancies in England alone.

And a hard-hitting report on the legacy of the Mid Staffs scandal, which was published last week, warned that NHS wards across England were still under-staffed and putting patients’ lives at risk.

Educating more nurses is one of the key ways of addressing this problem, though obviously not overnight and certainly not on its own – a multi-factored approach is needed.

However, I cannot help but feel that if we are to ultimately to fix the problem of having too few nurses, then supply from our universities will become increasingly important.

”Let’s celebrate our current generation of student nurses right now”

We can no longer rely on the rest of the world, because many other countries are also experiencing or facing a similar shortage, including traditional feeder nations like India and the Philippines.

Of course, I couldn’t fail to mention the bursary cuts or Brexit when talking about factors negatively affecting the supply of nurses to the UK.

But I want this to be a positive message. So, let’s celebrate our current generation of student nurses right now.

Once again, congratulations to those shortlisted for the 2019 Student Nursing Times Awards. I hope that by highlighting their efforts we can inspire more to follow in their footsteps.

Check out the Nursing Times website during Friday afternoon, or our various social media accounts to find out who won an award

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