Posted Wednesday 3 May 2023
Kingston University has been crowned a double winner at this year’s Student Nursing Times Awards, picking up awards for Nursing Associate Trainee of the Year and Teaching Innovation of the Year.
Now in its twelfth year, the national awards shine a light on the brightest talent in the nursing community. The accolades recognise students, graduates, nurses, lecturers and supervisors who go the extra mile, as well as universities that put the student experience first.
Second year student Pebbles Day took home the Nursing Associate Trainee of the Year award. She was inspired to pursue a career in nursing while working as a security officer at South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, where she took a leading role in de-escalating situations and reducing conflict. Keen to be more involved in caring for patients, she applied to be a healthcare assistant and then eventually for the Nursing Associate apprenticeship programme at Kingston.
"As a security officer, I would see patients who had reached the point of mental health crisis,” Pebbles explained. “I soon realised I wanted to be a part of their journey from an earlier stage, helping them through their recovery and eventually being able to walk out that door.”
The 28 year old is now working at an acute-psychiatric ward within the Trust on placement, supporting individuals with a variety of mental health needs. She has gone above and beyond in her role, including accompanying service users to routine medical appointments and creating a courtyard garden with bulbs and flowers from a local garden centre for them to enjoy.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, which took place at Grosvenor House Hotel in London, Pebbles reflected on what winning the award means to her. “For me, the main thing was just to be recognised in these awards by being shortlisted,” she said. “It was a shock to have won as I think of what I do in my role as a trainee nursing associate as simple tasks needed to take care of my patients including building a rapport with them, understanding how to administer medication and helping with physical health concerns, but what we do really does make a difference to their lives.”
The School of Nursing was also crowned the winner of the Teaching Innovation of the Year award for its simulated public health elective which ran last year, as part of its annual elective placement programme.
The elective was jointly run by Carmel Blackie, Michelle Grainger and Nikoleta Syreti in the School of Nursing and Dr Francesca Arrigoni in the Department of Pharmacy. Funded by Health Education England, it ran for four weeks for undergraduate students and six weeks for postgraduate students.
“Public health is important to all aspects of healthcare, but there are not many opportunities for students to get this placement experience,” Ms Blackie explained. “Health Education England was seeking to increase clinical placements in this area, so we responded to this by running a simulated public health elective that mirrors the work carried out by local authorities across London.”
The placement brought in public health experts spanning art, architecture, urban design and film making to help students understand the health of Londoners, anticipate health needs and to inform people and policy makers in relation to health and life choices. From these workshops, students developed a public health needs assessment poster, a three minute health promotion film and a health promotion poster, which they presented to local NHS trusts at the end of their placement.
Commenting on the award, Ms Blackie expressed her pride in her colleagues. “It was a great honour to be shortlisted and to have the opportunity to share our ideas with the wider nursing community, but to be a winner is the icing on the cake. The placement’s success is testament to the dedication and collaborative efforts of staff across nursing and pharmacy."
Head of the School of Nursing Professor Claire Thurgate praised all the students and staff who were in the running for an award, with the University receiving six nominations across five categories this year. "The awards really highlight the individual and collective talent of our staff and students within the School of Nursing," she said. “We are extremely proud of all the finalists and all that they have achieved in their respective fields of nursing.”
The two accolades follow on from the University’s success last year, which saw Jessica Ball who graduated this January, win learning disabilities student nurse of the year – an award she presented to this year’s winner at the 2023 ceremony.