Tue 20 Feb 18
Two students at our Southend Campus are celebrating after being shortlisted for national Student Nurse of the Year awards.
Final year nursing students Fiona Lunnon and Heather Finn are through to the finals of the Student Nursing Times Awards 2018 for their work to improve patient care during their hospital placements.
“Nutrition is one way of creating a healthy internal environment that allows us to physically function and process life events effectively.”
Fiona Lunnon is training as a mental health nurse and has a keen interest in nutrition and mental wellbeing. She is shortlisted for Student Nurse of the Year (Mental Health) after impressing judges with her efforts to improve public awareness of the connection.
“I have been interested in supporting mental wellness holistically since researching my own mental health recovery seven years ago,” Fiona explained. “Nutrition is one way of creating a healthy internal environment that allows us to physically function and process life events effectively.”
During placements at Rochford Hospital and Brockfield House, Fiona introduced a patient leaflet (.pdf) highlighting diet choices that help support mental wellbeing.
Fiona explained: “I shared my handout on two forensic wards and an adolescent ward, and it has developed as I research more. It is definitely a work in progress; I hope it inspires others to do their own research about nutrition.”
She has since presented her nutrition research at conferences which led to mental health charity State of Mind Sport using it on their website. She’s now working on a research paper that she hopes to publish.
Fiona is studying for her BSc Nursing (Mental Health).
“It’s just part of my job to make services more easily accessible to patients.”
Heather Finn worked with the Continence Team at Rochford Hospital to reduce the number of missed appointments. She’s been shortlisted in the Student Nurse of the Year (Adult) category.
After finding that younger patients in particular were embarrassed about seeking advice for continence issues, Heather helped the team develop a more patient-centred and sensitive approach and worked to make the information provided to patients more informative and empowering.
Heather said: “It’s just part of my job to make services more easily accessible to patients. I feel this is an important issue as many people experience problematic continence issues which can really affect their health and well-being without realising there is help and support available.”
Heather is studying for her BSc Nursing (Adult).
Vikki-Jo Scott, Head of our School of Health and Social Care said: “I’m really proud of Fiona and Heather and so pleased their hard work has been recognised. They both made a real and lasting difference to patient care with the initiatives they developed, and it shows the wonderful impact student nurses can have. They, along with all our student nurses graduating this year, will be a fantastic addition to the profession.”
Thomas Currid, Programme Lead for mental health nursing said: “Being shortlisted is a phenomenal success for Fiona and Heather. The awards are UK-wide and attract fantastic entries. We’ve got excellent student nurses out there and they are the future.”
The Student Nursing Times Awards were set up by Nursing Times to recognise students who embody the values of nursing and are role models and leaders, inspiring others from their universities and nationally. The judging panel, of which Thomas is a member, is made of up representatives from across the UK, including both NHS and universities. Fiona and Heather will face the final judging panel in March.
Heather and Fiona's success completes a trio of shortlist places for Essex, with lecturer and doctoral student Matthew Osborne in the running for Learner of the Year.
“We’ve got excellent student nurses out there and they are the future.”