From education to employment

University celebrates Student Nurse of the Year winner

Caption: Melissa with Calvin Moorley, Professor and Chair of Diversity and Social Justice from London South Bank University (left,) and Steve Ford, Nursing Times Editor.

An outstanding final year student from the University of Chester has been named Student Nurse of the Year at a prestigious health awards ceremony.

Melissa Young was named the Student Nurse of the Year: Adult in the Student Nursing Times Awards 2022.

This award aims to recognise an outstanding final year student and to celebrate the breadth of learning needed to join this field of the profession – from clinical skills to academic achievement, which underpin the treatment of all patients.

Melissa was nominated by Yvette Heatley, Senior Lecturer in Acute Adult Care, for her performance during her placement which saw her demonstrate leadership and implement change within a new service, while keeping the patient experience at the centre of everything.

The Awards highlight excellence in all specialities of student nursing, as well as giving the opportunity to congratulate the lecturers, practice supervisors, universities, NHS trusts and private organisations providing the best support for student nurses during their studies.

Melissa, 31, from Birkenhead, said: “It feels really overwhelming to win but I also feel very proud. I feel very lucky to be part of such an amazing cohort of student nurses. The past few years have been challenging but our students are so resilient and supportive of one another. There is a real sense of family between student nurses both on campus and out on placement.”

Melissa thanked the support and encouragement she had received throughout her time at the University.

She said: The University has been fantastic and the support I’ve received during my studies has really helped me to get the most from my degree. The University of Chester provides brilliant academic writing support, something that was very important for me as a more mature student who hasn’t studied for a while. The staff also supported me through some tough times during the pandemic and my Personal Academic Tutor Viki Whaley went above and beyond.

“I feel very lucky to be surrounded by fantastic role models, from members of academic staff to colleagues on placement in Cheshire and Merseyside who have provided me with amazing opportunities to develop as a student nurse.”

Melissa is now looking forward to starting her nursing career. She added: I’ve just accepted my first newly qualified nurse post in the community setting and cannot wait to get stuck in! I also have my sights on the Mary Seacole Programme by the NHS Leadership Academy, after having completed the Edward Jenner Programme I have a real passion for leadership and quality improvement. I’d like to come back to University as a Visiting Lecturer, as I love working with students – they keep our practice current and up to date, they make us question how and why, they look at our practice with a fresh pair of eyes and I really value that input.”

Yvette, who proposed her for the Award, said: “We are so proud of Melissa and all she has achieved. She is a true credit to the University and the nursing profession as a whole. We can’t wait to see all the amazing things she is going to do in her career.”

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