Margaret Perry Award winner says Nursing is in her blood
There was a double celebration for Sara Oddy from Ponthenri near Llanelli today (Friday, January 27), when she graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Nursing from Swansea University at the Winter Degree and Award Congregations for the College of Human and Health Sciences.
Mother-of-two Sara, aged 39, is also this year’s winner of the College’s top nursing prize, the Pre-registration Nursing Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Memory of Margaret Perry.
The annual award, worth £200, is presented to the student who has obtained the overall highest result and consistently performed throughout the duration of the three-year Nursing degree.
Sara, who now works as a qualified nurse on the Intensive Care Unit within the new Critical Care Unit in West Wales General Hospital, received the award from the Acting Head of the College of Human and Health Sciences, Jane Thomas.
Jane Thomas said: “Sara had an incredible final average of almost 90% and her high academic results have been constant throughout. Sara is highly valued by colleagues, academic staff and patients alike.
“She has many strengths and has faced many challenges during her studies that make her an outstanding role model both as a student and as a qualified nurse.”
Speaking about her award, Sara said: “I do appreciate that the work I put into both my studies and clinical placements has been recognised by the University in the awarding of both the Margaret Perry Award and a First Class Honours. My family is exceptionally proud.”
Originally Sara taught art and design and then worked as a welfare rights specialist for the Citizens Advice Bureau, but felt she wanted a more caring profession.
And Nursing has been something of a family tradition.
Sara said: “Nursing is in my blood – my father was a mental health nurse and my grandmother a nursing sister. It is a profession I also wanted to undertake, however knowing the commitment required of both the training and the profession itself, I chose to wait until my daughters, now aged 14 years and 19 years were older and less demanding of my time.
“I felt that I wanted a more hands on and direct role in supporting those in ill health and decided to undertake my nursing degree. Swansea University was the natural choice for study due to its locality.”
Sara had to face many challenges during her studies. For the first year and a half of the course Sara along with her husband and two daughters lived in a static caravan while completing renovations to their home. Also both Sara’s mother and grandmother are disabled and housebound. But, there were further challenges to overcome.
Sara said: “Sadly, my father passed away in the year the year before my nursing degree and my mother-in-law lost her battle with lung cancer on the day of my second year exams. My father-in-law was also diagnosed with prostate cancer during my third year.”
Sara remained focussed during her studies and her hard work has now paid off.
She added: “I thrived upon the challenges provided by both clinical placements and academic study, but particularly enjoyed it when I was able to see first hand how academic theory linked to nursing practice.
“The holistic nature of nursing, particularly critical nursing, satisfies my desire to provide care and support for patients during times when they are vulnerable and in most need.”
Sara’s personal tutor, Dr Jane Hanley, said: “Sara is thoroughly deserving of the Margaret Perry Award. She faced many challenges, which appeared to make her even more determined to succeed and she remained focussed on providing nursing care of the highest standard. This commitment was evident both in feedback from her clinical placements and in her written work.
“Sara’s commitment to study and achieve perfection was inspirational.”