Four students at the University of Worcester have been shortlisted in the annual Student Nursing Times Awards.
Swathi Suresh has been shortlisted for the Mary Seacole Award for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion, while Phillipa Mills, Sophie Prothero and Savannah Richards have all been shortlisted for Nursing Associate Trainee of the Year.
Robert Dudley, Head of the Three Counties School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University said he was incredibly proud of them all.
“We are thrilled to have four students shortlisted in these prestigious awards,” he said. “It is testament to their outstanding commitment and the valuable contribution they make to the communities they serve.
“As Nursing and Midwifery educators, we empower our students to think critically and professionally about the challenges they face, so that they themselves can push for transformation and drive improvement in their services in the future.”
The prestigious Student Nursing Times awards pay tribute to student nurses and midwives and the programmes and people committed to providing outstanding training and education opportunities. The winners will be announced on April 28th at a ceremony in London.
Phillipa Mills: shortlisted for Nursing Associate Trainee of the Year
Prior to joining the University’s Nursing Associate FdSc course, Phillipa Mills had spent eight years working as a healthcare assistant supporting patients living with dementia in an older adult mental health inpatient setting.
“I was encouraged and fully supported by my workplace, where I am still based, to apply for the Nursing Associate course,” she said. “As part of the course I’ve been able to gain experience in a variety of nursing placements and develop my overall confidence. I am hoping to continue gaining more knowledge and experience to provide high quality care and eventually come back to university to progress into a registered mental health nurse.”
Speaking about the award nomination, Phillipa, from Redditch, said: “I feel honoured to even be recognised let alone nominated for such an award.”
Sophie Prothero: shortlisted for Nursing Associate Trainee of the Year
Sophie Prothero said she knew she wanted to work in hospitals right from when she was a child.
“I was always playing hospitals with my dolls and teddies,” she said. “Prior to beginning the apprenticeship, I worked as a healthcare assistant on a ward for two years and enjoyed helping patients in need.
“When the opportunity arose to undertake the Nursing Associate apprenticeship, I applied. I wanted to do more for the patients. I was delighted to be offered a place on the course and to be able to complete the apprenticeship on the ward I am familiar with.”
Sophie, from Hereford, said was proud to be shortlisted for the Student Nursing Times Award. “Being dyslexic, I found academic writing difficult but worked hard to get to where I am today and I am grateful and proud to be shortlisted for the award and overwhelmed to have been nominated.
“My goal is to be the best Nurse Associate I can be and positively impact patients' lives.”
Savannah Richards: shortlisted for Nursing Associate Trainee of the Year
Savannah Richards had been working as a healthcare assistant for 12 years when she saw the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship as an opportunity to build on her skills and make the move into a nursing career.
“I had been working in the Accident and Emergency department in Worcester for 4.5 years prior to starting the course,” said the mother-of-one. “Having the flexibility of attending university and to continue working really appealed to me.”
Savannah, originally from Birmingham and now living in Kidderminster, said she wanted to continue providing emergency care after qualification.
“I enjoy the fast-paced environment as well as working in a fantastic team helping people with their acute illnesses,” she said. “Once I am qualified, I hope that as well as making change in patient's lives that I can make change and create a more inclusive working environment for my colleagues.”
Speaking about the Student Nursing Times Awards, she said: “At first, I was very surprised as I don't feel that I do anything extra special to be noticed. However, I am so happy that my hard work has been highlighted which has given me a boost in confidence. I feel honoured to be shortlisted with so many other wonderful students.”
Swathi Suresh: shortlisted for the Mary Seacole Award for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion
Swathi Suresh moved to the UK from the Indian state of Kerala in 2022, while the world was still reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic. Joining the University of Worcester’s Adult Nursing course, her ambition was to become a caring and compassionate nurse.
“As an international student, I have faced multiple challenges,” she said. “However, these didn’t hold me back and instead, I used them as a motivation to continuously improve myself and help other people whenever I can.”
Swathi was nominated for the award by her lecturer, Kevin Fernandez, who called her “a future nurse leader with a strong passion for equality, diversity and inclusion in nursing practice and education”.
Swathi said she was thrilled to be shortlisted. “Being nominated and now a finalist for the Mary Seacole Award for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion is a big opportunity for international students like me to be seen, heard, recognised, and celebrated.
“I still feel overwhelmed by everyone’s support and congratulatory messages, and I am immensely grateful for all the support I am continuously receiving from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, especially from Kevin who nominated me, placement supervisors, all the international students, and every patient I met in practice who have made so much impact in my life.”