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University of Chester finalists in prestigious nursing awards

Dedication and innovation in healthcare at the University of Chester have been recognised in the shortlist for two prestigious awards.

Melissa Young, 31, from Birkenhead, has been shortlisted for the Student Nurse of the Year: Adult in the Student Nursing Times Awards 2022 and the ‘Cheshire and Merseyside Annexe Collaborative: Our journey to enhancing practice learning,’ a project led by University staff, has been shortlisted in the category of Partnership of the Year.

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.

The Student Nurse of the Year: Adult 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; implement change within a new service while keeping the patient experience at the centre of everything.

Melissa said: “I’m so grateful to the Faculty of Health and Social Care and our placement providers for giving me amazing opportunities to make a difference. The education of future nurses provided by Cheshire and Merseyside has been fantastic and really enabled me to make the shortlist.

“I love to make a difference working with the people in our communities. It’s such a privilege to be a student nurse, as you’re often working with people in a vulnerable time of their lives. We get to know our patients so we can deliver the best person-centred care for them and being trusted with that is really rewarding.”

The Partnership of the Year award seeks to recognise the important collaboration between higher educational institutions and organisations providing healthcare to the public with a view to providing a conducive learning environment.

The University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care has established and continues to lead a collaborative Cheshire and Merseyside workstream, the Cheshire and Merseyside Annexe Collaborative. Nursing students are required to achieve a range of clinical skills as required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council as the regulatory body. However, numerous barriers have been recognised that can prevent the achievement of these skills which can negatively influence whether nursing students progress and complete their programmes of study. Challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and limited exposure to practice such skills have the potential to negatively impact the learner experience and increase student attrition, while creating subsequent nursing workforce implications.

Successful partnership working with four universities and practice partners across Cheshire and Merseyside supported the development of year and field-specific (adult, child, learning-disability and mental health) guidance documents to support learners and educators in practice environments. This toolkit provides practice educators and learners supportive suggestions how students can achieve clinical skills and progress through their programme.

The guidance has been piloted with nursing students and 91% of respondents stated the document was either supportive or extremely supportive and that the guidance had prompted discussions to meet the criteria, resulting in further skills being achieved. The Faculty is extremely proud to have achieved a recent Health Education England bid to expand this workstream by developing the toolkit whilst also implementing an Outreach Skills Clinics for Assessment (OSCA) where nursing students will be able to book an appointment in a practice-based rotating clinic to practice clinical skills and be assessed using simulated technology.

The winners will be announced on Friday, May 27 at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London, bringing the nursing community together to celebrate the brightest talent making its way into the profession.

Professor Angela Simpson, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the University, said:

“I am incredibly proud of Melissa and all the team involved in the Cheshire and Merseyside Annexe Collaborative. Everyone has worked so hard and overcome so many challenges during the pandemic. These nominations are a well-deserved recognition of their hard work and adaptability. I wish them the best of luck in the finals.”

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