Swansea student recognised in national awards

A 41 year-old mother from Wales has finished as runner-up in a national competition to find the best student nurses and midwives in the country.

The exceptional skills of Lindsay Skyrme, who is in her third year at Swansea University, have been recognised in the prestigious 2014 Scholarship Awards run by Cavell Nurses’ Trust under the academic achievement prize.

“I honestly never expected to come so far in the scholarships. Simply being shortlisted was far more than I ever expected, so to be chosen as runner-up is an honour. I had to be encouraged by my tutor to enter the awards, but when I read up about Edith Cavell it became something I wanted to recognise and be part of.”

Mature student Lindsay entered midwifery after a 20-year career in the hotel industry and following the birth of her daughter, now aged four. “I was always interested in midwifery and felt pulled towards it after having a baby. That’s when you realise that the apparently small differences often make the biggest difference for new mothers, and that supporting the transition to parenthood is very important.”

Lindsay is now planning to continue her studies with a PhD exploring natural versus technocratic approaches to breastfeeding.

Some 29 student nurses and midwives from across the country competed for the honours in five different categories covering outstanding student nurse and midwife, leadership, community and academic achievement.

Winners receive a travel scholarship, worth up to £2,000, for further study either in the UK or overseas. Runners-up up will receive a laptop and certificate.

The rigorous selection process included in-depth interviews of the candidates by a judging panel comprising some of the foremost figures in nursing, including Professor Lesley Page, President of the Royal College of Midwives.

Professor Page said: “Candidates for the awards were without exception, dedicated, innovative and energetic, they shone with excellence.  Selecting the recipients was extremely difficult given the very high standard and commitment of applications.  It gives us cause to be optimistic about the future of nursing and midwifery. The awards are an important recognition and will help take the recipients forward to make an even greater contribution to health care.”

The 14 award winners will be presented with their prizes and certificates by HRH The Princess Royal at a special ceremony at London’s Fishmonger’s Hall on 19th March. 

Other special guests will include Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, Dr Christian Jessen, presenter of BAFTA award winning television series 'Embarrassing Bodies', Ann Gloag, co-founder of the international transport company Stagecoach, Professor Lesley Page, President of the Royal College of Midwives and Cavell Nurses’ Trust Patron Loyd Grossman, noted broadcaster and heritage campaigner.

This is the third year for the scholarships, which are promoted through universities, with the aim of providing exceptional student nurses and midwives opportunities to further develop their professional practice and personal qualities.

Cavell Nurses' Trust Chief Executive Kate Tompkins said: "It was most inspiring to hear the next generation of nurses and midwives talk with such passion and conviction about their chosen fields.

"The scholarships continue to go from strength to strength and Cavell Nurses' Trust is proud to recognise and reward the commitment and hard work of students through these highly-regarded awards."

The Princess Royal is President of the Trust’s Centenary Appeal which aims to raise £3 million by next year and double the number of people it supports.

The charity, which every year helps hundreds of nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who have fallen on hard times through ill health, disability, family breakdown or domestic abuse, is promoting a series of fundraising events for the Centenary Appeal. For further information on these and information about the work of Cavell Nurses' Trust, please visit www.cavellnursestrust.org or call 01527 595999.