National award for student nurse for giving a voice to others

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A Nursing student at the University has won a prestigious national award recognising her work in empowering the student voice.

Rose with her award
Rose with her award

Rose James won the category of Outstanding Contribution to Student Affairs in this year’s Student Nursing Times Awards.

The Awards bring together the nursing community to shine a light on the brightest talent making their way into the profession.

Rose, who is studying for a degree in Adult Nursing, received the Award for her role as Co-Chair of the Faculty’s Student Empowerment Group (SEG), which was set up to give students a platform to be heard and an even better experience during their studies. Rose played an active role in working in partnership with the University to help co-write a new curriculum.

Along with fellow student Daniel Branch and Peg Murphy, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Social Care, the group has championed the student experience through different activities and events.

During her first year of study, Rose was invited to become the Student Representative for the Programme Planning Team (PPT). The team was set up by the University’s Director of Nursing, Julie Dulson, to write the new curriculum under the new Nursing and Midwifery Council Guidelines for pre-registration nurses, which required the inclusion of the student voice in order for it to become validated.

In this role, Rose attended meetings to provide feedback and assist in co-writing the new curriculum. She took the points back to the SEG and the team contacted students from across all sites, years and programmes for their feedback on modules and decisions on the new curriculum. Rose then collated this information for the PPT. All decisions relating to a module or the curriculum were made with Rose’s involvement to liaise with fellow students to gain their insight and feedback.

The Co-Chair role also gave Rose the opportunity to learn much more about student empowerment in Health and Social Care more widely. She has presented at numerous RAISE (Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement) Conferences, including one hosted by the University of Chester, discussing how student empowerment has been increased through the work of the SEG. Rose also attended the Chief Nurse Summit in March to connect with other nurses across the UK and was part of a group of students from the University who met with Chief Nurse Ruth May and her team in 2019 in London.

Rose has also devised a new project currently being developed by the SEG called Your First of Everything, an interactive tool for students and staff to share reflections and experiences.

She said: “I feel that this new project highlights the importance of mental health and well-being for students and gives support. It will share the first experiences of different scenarios in practice and theory and how others dealt with it with the aim that others can relate to this and learn from it.

“Since being a part of the SEG, I have learnt that having a platform where you can voice your opinions and implement change, is very empowering. I have been able to achieve things I couldn’t have without this group. I have connected with students, staff and other people I never thought I could by being a part of this group. The opportunities I have had and how I have grown as an individual has shaped who I am now and the nurse I will be.

“Hearing that I had won felt amazing! I felt that all my hard work paid off but also that our collaboration as a SEG was recognised. I personally have worked very hard to get to the point of where I am now, and I know the SEG has as well. They have supported me 100% of the way and I couldn’t have won the award without them. I am humbled, grateful, and very, very proud.”

Professor Angela Simpson, Executive Dean of the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care, said: “We’re so proud of Rose and everyone, both students and staff, who have been involved in the Student Empowerment Group. It is really exciting to see our students feeding directly into the curriculum and being inspired to give feedback.

“Rose has worked so hard and it is a pleasure to see her dedication rewarded in such a way.”