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The Student Nursing Times Awards 2012

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The first-ever Student Nursing Times Awards takes place today in London. Nursing Times reveals what it’s all about.

Some of the issues facing nursing whenever there is a crisis are often blamed on the style or standards of nurse education. In the past year, there have been several reports on dignity, care and compassion that have not made for comfortable reading. The media have been quick to blame these “falling standards” and a “lack of compassion” on education - most frequently citing the move to all-degree entry for nurses as the reason for producing a set of bookish academic nurses who are more concerned about nursing theory than caring for patients emotionally and tending to their needs.

At Nursing Times, we know that simply isn’t true. Not only is it impossible to blame all-degree education because those students haven’t graduated yet, but there have always been nursing degrees so this phenomenon isn’t new. Add to that the fact that university degrees provide a high standard of nurse education and students still spend around 50% of their time in clinical placement, and it’s clear the view that nursing is removed from patients and placements is erroneous.

There are phenomenal teaching institutions educating the next generation of nurses, brilliant student placements with inspiring and informative mentors, and superb lecturers all educating, informing and shaping great students.

By creating these awards, we are showing the profession, the media and the public that student nurse education is something of which we can all be proud and is still producing excellent nurses who show compassion as well as clinical excellence.

We’re celebrating student nurses and want to tell everyone that they should be too.

The judging process

For our four student nurse categories - adult, learning disabilities, mental health and children’s - final-year students were asked to nominate themselves or be nominated by their lecturers or peers. The judges then rated them on a range of criteria such as academic excellence, placement performance and going the extra mile - and compiled a shortlist. That shortlist was then invited into our offices to be interviewed by the panel.

The same process took place for the lecturer category when, in addition to being questioned by the panel, finalists gave a short presentation on why they deserved to win the award.

Teaching institutions in the pre- and post-registration categories, along with their teaching innovations, were scored in complete confidence by their own students on a range of criteria, such as provision of pastoral care, learning resources provided and quality of teaching. Those scores determine who wins the award in all three of these categories.

Attrition among student nurses is higher than in many other disciplines and their experiences of placements are often blamed for deterring them from completing their training. However, having an effective mentor and a good placement can inspire students to embrace nursing. The mentor and placement awards recognise those individuals and organisations that are improving education by providing welcoming, safe and educational learning environments.

The shortlist

Student Nurse of the Year: Adult

  • Christelle Page, Plymouth University
  • John Scudder, University of Bedfordshire
  • Kerri O’Connell, Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Lorna Davies, University of York
  • Marie Llewellyn, Birmingham City University
  • Rebecca Phillips, Teesside University
  • Richard Mealor, University of Cumbria


Student Nurse of the Year: Children’s

  • Benjamin Low, Northumbria University
  • Carly Townsend, University of Manchester
  • Danielle Pettitt, Bournemouth University
  • Vivien Gregory, University of Greenwich


Student Nurse of the Year: Learning Disabilities

  • Anthony Green, Bangor University
  • Claire Watts, Kingston University
  • Matthew Mclean, University of York


Student Nurse of the Year: Mental Health

  • Astrid Willis, University of Stirling
  • Charlotte Mills, University of Nottingham
  • Chloe Perkins, Oxford Brookes University
  • Jennifer Smee, Oxford Brookes University
  • Lisa Roberts, Glasgow Caledonian University


Lecturer of the Year

  • Claire Buchner, Queen’s University Belfast
  • David Marshall, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Jen Tapping, Kingston University
  • Mark Wheatley, Teesside University
  • Amelia Williamson, University of Birmingham


Nurse Education Provider of the Year: Pre-registration

  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • University of Southampton
  • Glyndwr University
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Manchester


Nurse Education Provider of the Year: Post-registration

  • Northumbria University
  • University of Huddersfield
  • Education for Health


Student Placement of the Year

  • Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team, Manchester Mental Health Social Care Trust
  • Critical Care, Aintree University Hospital Foundation Trust
  • Emergency Department, Medway Foundation Trust
  • Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle
  • Your Healthcare
  • Bolton Foundation Trust
  • Coronary Care Unit, Cornwall
  • County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust


Mentor of the Year

  • Jane Maria Williams, Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board
  • Louise Davison, Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust
  • Rosca Marange, Orchard Lodge, East London Foundation Trust


Teaching Innovation of the Year

  • Edinburgh Napier University, Disseminated model
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • Kingston University and St George’s, University of London
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Southampton
  • Edinburgh Napier University, Third-year student nurses facilitating clinical skills for first-year students

“I was delighted to see enthusiastic, dedicated and committed future nurses. All entrants were inspiring, encouraging and real ambassadors for the profession, their universities and the trusts that hosted their placement. To a large extent they contradicted the bad press that nurses sometimes get in terms of their skills and abilities.”

Thomas Currid, senior lecturer/programme director, London South Bank University and judge of Student Nurse of the Year: Mental Health

“Our programme owes much of its success to the dedication of the university staff we have worked with and their ability to inspire students. Thanks to them, thousands qualify each year and enter the workforce able to deliver excellent care and curious about how to make it even better.”

NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement - sponsor of Lecturer of the Year

“Students are often not rewarded or recognised for their achievements, which is why Unison is pleased to support and praise our outstanding student colleagues and sponsor this award. I was impressed by the standard of entrants, and it is wonderful knowing the next generation of nursing talent is as enthusiastically committed to the profession as we are to supporting them.”

Gail Adams, head of nursing, Unison - sponsor of Student Nurse of the Year: Children’s

“We are delighted to sponsor the Student Nurse of the Year: Adult category, in recognition of students who have excelled in their studies, often overcoming significant challenges. We hope their inspirational stories will motivate both applicants and students who will become the nurses of the future.”

Shirley Congdon, dean of the School of Health Studies, University of Bradford - sponsor of Student Nurse of the Year: Adult

Placements are a vital part of education - they show students vital clinical skills as well as help them develop relationships with patients and colleagues in a realistic environment. What was excellent about this category was seeing evidence that a variety of environments in community and acute settings can provide outstanding experiences for students. They have worked hard to produce orientations and inductions, forge links with other services to widen the student’s sphere of reference, and involved the student in the wider multidisciplinary team. We are delighted to be able to recognise great employers and look forward to spreading their best practice.”

Caroline Waterford, deputy head of employment services, NHS Employers - sponsor of Placement of the Year

For more details of some of the shortlisted projects, departments and innovations, and click on shortlist.

Congratulations to all our finalists and thank you to everyone for entering. The winners will be announced on 1 May at The Grange Hotel, St Paul’s, London. See details of the winners in our 15 May issue or online at and from 2 May.

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