University recognises top nursing students

Nursing excellence and achievement was the focus of a prize-giving ceremony today (Thursday 15 December).

Nursing award 2011The School of Nursing and Midwifery announced the winners of its annual prizes who received their awards at an informal ceremony held in the Faculty of Health and Social Care, at the university’s Garthdee campus, at 12.30pm today.

Awards that were conferred included the Mentor of the Year Award 2011 and The Jennie Parry Prize for Clinical Excellence 2011. This year also marked the inaugural award of The Honourable Lady Bannatyne Prize for students in the field of children and young people’s nursing.

The winner of the Mentor of the Year is staff nurse Heather Taylor, from Kingswells, who works in the Main Theatre Suite of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI). Heather was nominated by student nurse Anita Webster who was mentored by Heather during her final placement which was carried out within Theatre 11 of ARI.

Anita said: “I’m really pleased that Heather has been selected for the award. Throughout my placement she was not only an adviser, but an influential supporter and a wise and trusted teacher who helped increase my confidence in this specialised field of nursing.”

Heather TaylorCommenting on her prize, Heather said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed and honoured to have won the mentor of the year award. Encouraging all learners is enjoyable, challenging at times and rewarding. It is a joy to see students develop and as our carers of tomorrow they deserve to gain the best from their placement so that it may inspire them.”

The Jennie Parry Prize for Clinical Excellence is donated by the retired Head of School for a student who, throughout their training, demonstrated actual or potential leadership and clinical excellence.

The recipient of this year’s award was Mrs Susan Naysmith who, following completion of her mental health nurse training in September 2011, now lives with her husband in Lafayette, Louisiana. During her training, Susan demonstrated additional contributions and actual leadership when she participated in a student exchange programme with Houston Baptist University (Texas) in 2010.

For the first time the School is also awarding The Honourable Lady Bannatyne prize for outstanding students in the children and youngPeter Burnett people’s field of nursing. This monetary prize was donated by Lady Bannatyne – a retired lecturer from the School.

Two recipients were selected for the inaugural award - Emma Connolly and Gemma Bulter. Emma (28) from Wellview Lane, Livingston, completed her nurse training in March 2011 and throughout her programme demonstrated excellent clinical ability and commitment to her studies.  She now works at the University College Hospital, London, as a children’s nurse in the medical/surgical ward. 

Also an outstanding student, Gemma (21), who comes from Cunningsburgh, Shetland, completed her nurse training in September 2011 and volunteered for extra curricular activities and supported other students in the university. Gemma, who graduated last week with distinction, recently relocated to Edinburgh for her husband’s job. She is currently looking to make her break into a new career as a children’s nurse.

Gemma BulterLady Bannatyne lectured at the university for 28 years, primarily specialising in children and young people nursing.  During this time she was known by her former name, Mrs Rose Smith. After her retirement in 2009 she married Lord Bannatyne (Iain Peebles) -  a judge of the High Court of Justiciary and Court of Session in Scotland - and consequently took the honorary title of Lady Bannatyne.

She said:  “I’m delighted to be able to present this prize. During my career I saw students who had engaged with the programme, overcome challenges and made personal sacrifices to gain a nursing qualification. Hence the award, I felt, should recognise a student who has shown ongoing commitment to their programme of studies, and one who actively endeavours to progress and achieve.”

Thursday’s award ceremony was attended by Professor Brian Webster, Head of School and The Honourable Lady Bannatyne. Heather and Gemma received their awards in person, while Susan’s prize was collected by her father, Peter Burnett. All prize winners received a certificate and the Jennie Parry and Lady Bannatyne recipients also received a monetary gift which will help them purchase material for their continuing professional development.

Alison McLennan, Senior Lecturer Practice Education, who was also in attendance said: “I would like to offer huge congratulations to all prize winners on their outstanding contributions to the ongoing educational development of nurses. Choosing the award recipients was no easy task due to the high standards of all the nurses and midwives who were nominated for awards.”


Photo captions   

Top right: Lady Bannatyne, Prof Brian Webster, Gemma Bulter, Peter Burnett, Heather Taylor, Anita Webster and Senior Charge Nurse, Mark Higgins.    
Middle left:
Anita Webster, Heather Taylor
Middle right: Prof Brian Webster, Peter Burnett
Bottom left: Lady Bannatyne, Gemma Bulter                          

Issued by:
Andrew Youngson
Communications Officer | Faculty of Health and Social Care
Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262389