College awards open for students who impress service users

The College of Human and Health Sciences at Swansea University is once again running a competition for its health professional students, with the aim of recognising those who go the extra mile in practice with patients and their families.

The Student Prize for Best Practice in Service User and Carer Involvement, which first ran in 2015, is open to 2nd year Nursing, Midwifery, Healthcare Science and Paramedic Science students and 3rd year Osteopathy students. Students can nominate themselves, or be nominated by a peer or member of academic staff.

Winners of the 2015 Prize were:

  • Adult Nursing – Kirsty Jones, who was the overall winner
  • Child Nursing – Liam Dando
  • Mental Health Nursing- Lauren Piercy
  • Midwifery – Vicky Copper
  • Paramedic Science – Wesley Roberts
  • Health Care Sciences – Ryan Murphy
  • Osteopathy – Rebecca Wedlake

Vicky Copper, winner of the Midwifery Prize said: “Winning this award has provided me with reassurance that the care that I provide is woman centred in all aspects and that I'm able to build good report with families and team members.

“I have used this experienced to build my confidence in knowing that I have what it takes to be a successful midwife, providing the care and support each family deserves. Service users are a valuable tool in ensuring care providers maintain and improve all aspects of care to enable a positive experience regardless of the situation.”

Ryan Murphy studies Audiology and won the Healthcare Sciences prize. He said: “Being nominated made me feel proud, that I had been recognized for the effort I make with not only my patients but other service users. It provided me with confidence that I have chosen the right profession for me.         

“I believe I was nominated for my good manners towards all service users as well as my confidence to open a conversation. I think my actual nomination was for helping a struggling lady onto the bus after my shift and sitting talking to her until her stop, sitting on the side of her better hearing so she wouldn't have to strain to hear.    

“This will most definitely look well on my CV and should help me stand out to employers. It motivates me to keep working hard and improving every day.  The service users are an important part of our studies. We are here to provide those in need with a better quality of life. Witnessing first-hand how grateful patients are for our service and how much we have improved their quality of life really gives fantastic job satisfaction.”

Lauren Piercy won the award for Mental Health Nursing. She said: “This award meant a lot to me because service users play a large role in selecting the winners. They are the very people we care for. Having a patient tell you that you are doing a good job has meant more to me than any other achievement.

“The award will help me remember that people do notice when you try your best to do good. To have someone stand up and say, ‘well done, you done a good job’, is just a quiet reminder that patients still have every faith in you to deliver the best care possible.

“I think service users are the single most important part of any nursing study, very simply because they are who and what we are there for. Everything revolves around their care and treatment; what will benefit them, what they want for themselves, how they wish to be cared for and how we can use the knowledge we acquire during study to alleviate their pain and suffering.”

Lauren also had some advice for other students who might be thinking of entering the Student Prize for Best Practice in Service User and Carer Involvement. She added: “Talk to patients, ask for honest feedback, ask what we can do to improve. Don’t take criticism personally, look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Talk to other medical professionals so you know what services are available for your patients and who else may be able to support them. Most importantly, never lose sight of why you entered your profession.”

Julia Terry who is a Senior Lecturer within the College’s Department of Nursing coordinates the Prize. She said: “The prizes emphasise the importance of working in partnership with service users and carers as part of healthcare professional programmes.

“Furthermore, being recognised for good practice may be a useful addition to students’ CVs.  I would encourage all students to nominate themselves and get involved.”

The overall winner will receive a trophy and a £50 book voucher, with runners-up medals and a £20 book voucher awarded to the winners from each health professional programme.

The closing date for nominations is 3rd June 2016.