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Nursing cohort can wear their badges with pride after coming through Covid

nurse team of 2023

It is a long-standing tradition for nurses to wear the badge of their training school on their uniform and 86 graduate nurses were urged to wear theirs with pride after a special ceremony held at the University of Winchester.

The 2023 cohort had extra cause to feel pride in their achievements in completing their courses in the face of Covid, said Chris Gale, Academic Head of Nursing at the University.

Chris said:

“You are the group that joined in the middle of a global pandemic in September 2020,”

“You are the group that was on the frontline during work placements helping NHS staff and service users. You didn’t even meet each other until a year later in September, 2021.You have been amazing.”

The badge ceremony, which was also attended by friends and relatives of the graduates, was held at the University’s West Downs Auditorium.

Special guest at the event included Julie Dawes, Director of Nursing at the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT). 

She told the audience:

“I have been a nurse for 42 years. I wear my badge with pride and I have worn it my whole career. Your badge is a reflection of the amazing partnership between the hospitals and the university that has helped educate you.”

She said the new nurse were joining an “amazing team” – the NHS, which treated 1.6 million people per day.

Julie was joined by Julia Lake, Associate Director of Nursing at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, along with Katrina Mason, Associate Director of Nursing at HHFT Both gave inspiring addresses in which they said becoming a nurse was a privilege and a great opportunity.

Katrina said:

“Nursing is compassion, kindness and caring – none of these costs a penny. Put that at the heart of your day,”

Julia Lake had brought along her grandmother’s badge which dated from 1928. As a little girl she never tired of hearing her granny’s stories of nursing.

“They were her unique stories, “she told the gathering. “Grab your opportunities and before you know it you will be sharing your own unique stories.” 

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester Professor Sarah Greer said:

“I am delighted to see our second cohort of nursing graduates embark on their careers and wish them every success. The NHS will always need skilled and dedicated nursing staff and we are proud that we can help meet that need, by educating outstanding nursing graduates.”

The class of 2023 is the second cohort to graduate from the new nursing programme at Winchester. This year also included several firsts – the first group of graduates of the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship, the first group to complete the Transition to Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship (TRNDA) course and the first cohort of graduates for the BN Child Nursing Course.

Other badge recipients came from the BN Adult, Learning Disability and Mental Health nursing programmes.

Following the ceremony, the new nurses and their friends and family gathered for refreshments in the West Downs Centre.

Find out about nursing courses at the University of Winchester here

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