A student nurse has won the University of Worcester Exceptional Care Award for her tireless dedication to providing outstanding care, including during the pandemic.
Lucy Pugh, 33, from Worcester, is studying for a BSc in Adult Nursing having recently graduated from a Foundation Degree in Mental Health at the University of Worcester.
“I’m over the moon to have won this award,” she said. “I feel honoured to care for people. It is truly a gift. For me, the key components of exceptional care are having empathy for the person, listening to their needs and helping someone feel heard even when they are in their last hours of life.”
Lucy’s dedication to her work is such that, when the ward she was working on was designated as a Covid-19 ward during the first 8 weeks of the outbreak, she took the difficult decision to send her daughter, who has asthma, to live with her father in order to keep her safe.
“We FaceTimed every day, sent letters and presents and organised quiz nights,” she said. “It was one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever made, but we had an amazing reunion when it was safe for my daughter to come home again.”
“Whilst our ward was operating as a Covid cohort ward we still worked hard to promote recovery,” Lucy added. “We never gave up on anyone and always had hope, obviously some patients did become too poorly and providing a positive end of life journey had to be our focus. To see a larger than usual mortality rate was a moving and difficult experience to come to terms with.”
Lucy was working in payroll for a recruitment company when she first felt called to a career in care. She enrolled on a university access course to bridge the gap to higher education and left her job in payroll to begin working as a domiciliary carer. Once her access course was complete, Lucy enrolled on the foundation degree, and after three years working in dementia care she secured a job on a clinical ward at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital. As her professional career has developed, Lucy decided to develop her academic studies at the same time by topping up her foundation degree to the BSc in Adult Nursing at the University of Worcester.
Lucy now plans to finish her nurse training and continue to provide exceptional care. Her ultimate goal is to become a palliative care nurse in a hospice.
The Exceptional Care Award is sponsored by Ros Keeton, a Fellow of the University of Worcester.
“Great care is about good technical skills and a strong academic base,” she said. “However, it is much more than that. Excellent care is about compassion, kindness, and a connection with patients and their families. It was this latter aspect that lead us to developing this award in Worcester. We want our students to shine in all aspects. I’m passionate about the concept of intelligent kindness in healthcare and I'm proud to sponsor this award. Every year it’s wonderful to see so many excellent nominations. Lucy should be very proud to have received this award. She has a strong platform from which to develop her career.”
Jo Augustus, Course Leader for the Foundation Degree in Mental Health at the University of Worcester, nominated Lucy for the award.
“In the care setting, one of Lucy’s great strengths was engaging her patients with their recovery plans and ensuring they were well connected to support in the community so that they were in a strong position to return home and live their lives to the full,” she said.
“More recently Lucy has worked on an admissions ward at the hospital for patients with a diagnosis of Covid-19. This has been a real test for her as her focus has shifted from care provision and recovery to end of life care.”
“Lucy has constantly gone over and above in order to ensure she is offering truly exceptional care,” Jo added. “She is a kind, compassionate and highly skilled practitioner, and a fantastic addition to the nursing profession.”
But Lucy is the first to recognise the contribution others have made to her success in winning this award.
“I would like to thank my husband for supporting me through some very tough times this year, my incredibly strong daughter for taking everything in her stride, my family for being there for me emotionally, my work colleagues for the work that they have done during the pandemic, and Jo Augustus for checking in on me when I was struggling,” she said.