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Coventry University student wins prestigious award at the RCN Nursing Awards 2023

Coventry University student wins prestigious award at the RCN Nursing Awards 2023

A Coventry University student has won the Student Nursing award at the RCN Nursing Awards 2023.

Leanne Howlett, who gave up her previous career as a solicitor to become a mental health nurse, won the award for developing a Discharge Wellbeing Pack to support patients during their recovery at home. 

Leanne created the pack while on a placement with Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust’s (CWPT) specialist children and young people’s mental health services, RISE, after she saw how daunting it was for some of the young people in her care who were being discharged.

The pack gives them a resource to take home and something they can use to reflect on their recovery and everything they had learned and achieved. Young people who have received the pack have reported how it has improved their discharge experience, helping them to reframe it as something positive.

Speaking about the award, Leanne, who graduated from the BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing course this month, said:

“I never thought I’d win, but it feels amazing and I’m still on a bit of a high from it. I’m really proud because when I created the wellbeing pack it was something I just did for my patients, I didn’t really think that it would do anything more or be any bigger than that. The impact it’s had still feels a little bit surreal.”

The pack is now being used across wards within CWPT and has received positive feedback from parents as well as young people alike.

Leena Vinod, Senior Lecturer at Edge Hill University, who was on the judging panel, said:

“All our finalists in the Nursing Student category were impressive, but Leanne’s leadership really stood out. She identified a problem and developed a solution, working with young people to ensure that the pack really met their needs. Her change initiative has been embraced by Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust and is being rolled out widely to improve services. We are sure Leanne has a fantastic future ahead of her in nursing.”

Since graduating, Leanne is now working in the perinatal team at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, helping mums who experience mental illness after having a baby or during pregnancy, which is something she really wanted to do after her own battle with postnatal depression. 

The RCN awards were held at a ceremony at Liverpool Cathedral and hosted by broadcaster and author Julia Bradbury.

Leanne is one of hundreds of nursing students who graduate from Coventry University every year. Start your nursing career here.

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