12 February 2020

The University of East London (UEL) has been shortlisted in four categories in the Student Nursing Times Awards, a staggering achievement for the School of Health, Sport & Bioscience.

Set to take place in London in April this year, the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the Student Nursing Times Awards recognise excellence and the brightest talent entering the profession.

The University has made the shortlist for Nursing Associate Training Programme Provider of Year, Partnership of the Year and Teaching Innovation of the Year. Nursing students Luul Abdirisak Ali and Martin Gayle have both been shortlisted for the Mary Seacole Award for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion.

Luul Abdirisak Ali, a second-year BSc Adult Nursing student, has excelled as a student nurse both academically and on clinical placements, and has been nominated for her work promoting healthcare and nursing as a career choice with the Somali community.

Having witnessed a lack of basic medical care and equipment in Somalia while growing up there, she made her decision to train as a nurse and understands the challenges faced by new migrants accessing the complexities of healthcare in the UK. She works with the Somalian diaspora to promote health within Tower Hamlets.

In addition to establishing the Somalian Nursing Society at the University and acting as an advocate against female genital mutilation (FGM), Luul has created resources for people with limited English proficiency in hospitals in the top five languages spoken in East London, as part of a group project with other students, which have been published on the Royal College of Nursing website.

It's incredibly exciting to be recognised for something I'm so passionate about. Diversity and inclusion are central to everything I do,"

Luul Abdirisak Ali,  BSc Adult Nursing student at UEL, said.

Martin Gayle, a mature student who experienced homelessness after he became unemployed in 2018, has been described in the award nomination as "a role model who not only works hard to advance his own studies but is always concerned for the welfare of his peers, collectively and on an individual basis."

An active member of the Nursing Society, Martin helped to set up peer support study sessions to assist other students and volunteers as a mentor to assist pre-application students, encouraging other male BAME applicants. More than 90% of students on the BSc nursing programme at UEL have BAME heritage and around 85% are considered mature students.

A second-year BSc Adult Nursing student, he works part-time as a carer in the community, supporting adults to remain in their own homes, and has been trained in palliative and end of life care.

"I'm really pleased to have reached this far in the process. The student body and tutors in the Nursing cohort have been so supportive and that has kept me positive and motivated with my studies during the past 18 months," he said.

Jane Perry, dean of the School of Health, Sport and Bioscience, said, "We're incredibly proud to be shortlisted for these national awards, which is testament to our excellence in education for the next generation of nurses.

"To be recognised as one of the best Nursing Associate training programme providers in the country, as well as having the opportunity to celebrate our most outstanding students and their contributions to diversity and inclusion, is a great honour."

New announcements including the non-repayable annual grants of at least £5,000 from September 2020 for degree-level nursing will attract more students to the satisfying careers on offer within the profession, she added.

The University made the shortlist for Nursing Associate Training Programme Provider of the Year, recognising the growth of its programme since it accepted its first apprentices in November last year.

With 120 current students, 20 of whom are from primary care, the Nursing Associate programme is focused on widening participation, offering self-funding and apprenticeship routes as a way for those who would not meet academic requirements to pursue funding.

With excellent partnerships across the North East London networks, including the Barking Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, the collaboration has grown to incorporate Barts Health, the Homerton NHS foundation Trust, NELFT and ELFT, and a partnership through the East London Health Care partnership for primary care.

The University has also been shortlisted for the Partnership of the Year Award for the North East London Nursing Associate Partnership, a collaboration between the University of East London, Barts Health NHS Trust, Barking Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust, East London Foundation Trust, North East London Foundation Trust, Homerton University Hospital Trust, community and primary care providers, City, University of London, and London South Bank University.

The partnership was established in 2016, aimed at building capacity to develop high-quality nursing associates who could support the delivery of high-quality nursing care.

Initiatives have included practice learning and supervision in partnership, working together to ensure new curricula to meet Nursing and Midwifery Council standards are aligned, and clinical placements.

For the Teaching Innovation of the Year Award, the University of East London and the North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) have been shortlisted for their work in developing the idea for, planning and delivering a transformational learning disabilities and mental health Summer School, launched last year.

Over two weeks, students introduced issues concerning the care of people with learning disabilities and mental health conditions, which included direct interaction with patients and service users, carers, specialist nurses and other members of the multidisciplinary team. 

Aimed at relieving pressure among second-year Adult Nursing students undertaking mental health placements whilst providing a meaningful experience, teaching approaches included role-play and participation in art therapy.

View the full 2020 Shortlist.

Pictured (l-r): Valerie Nangle, Lecturer in Nursing; Luul Abdirisak Ali, second-year BSc Adult Nursing student; Jane Perry, dean of the School of Health, Sport and Bioscience.

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