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North East student wins national nursing award and Royal invite

23rd May 2023

A nursing student from Northumbria University has been named the Learning Disabilities Student Nurse of the Year by the Student Nursing Times, and topped off her success with an invitation to attend the King’s Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle.

Third-year Learning Disability Nursing student Chloe Hawkins was nominated for the award by her lecturers and placement providers after continually impressing them throughout her studies.

Chloe, from Hexham, has worked on placements in a range of wards and services at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) throughout her degree, which she began after working as a team manager in a supported living service.

Handing out the award, the judges from Student Nursing Times said that Chloe was an exceptional role model, with a calming aura and positive, professional approach in nursing.

Chloe was then delighted to hear that she had been invited to attend the King’s Coronation Concert by the Lord Lieutenant’s Office in recognition of her achievements.

Chloe said: “I’m so proud to be able to represent learning disability nursing, and the North East. I wasn’t expecting to win, as this is such a prestigious award – it is such an honour. And to then find I had been invited to the King’s Coronation Concert was truly amazing.

“I’m very grateful to all the patients and professionals I have worked with for sharing their experiences and allowing me to be a part of their journey. And the learning disability nursing lecturing team, who have always gone above and beyond to support students.

“I can’t wait to qualify and begin my work as a registered nurse!”

Caption: Pictured (Left): Jessica Ball (Learning Disability Acute Liaison Nurse at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust), Chloe Hawkins, Steve Ford (Editor, Nursing Times)

Dr Angela Ridley, the Head of Subject (Nursing) at Northumbria University, nominated Chloe. She said, “Chloe has always gone the extra mile. She works tirelessly as a champion and advocate for people with learning disabilities.

“Winning the award is a huge achievement, and recognises Chloe’s hard work, dedication and passion. She is an excellent ambassador for Northumbria University, and for people with learning disabilities.”

Adrian Anim, Community Learning Disabilities Nurse at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, said: “In my years working in health and social care, I find it difficult to recall a student as outstanding as Chloe. She demonstrates care, compassion, empathy and a fantastic ability to engage in a way that makes everyone feel comfortable, heard and empowered.”

Outside of her studies, Chloe is an ambassador for learning disability nursing in the Future NHS Network, an online community for health and social care staff, and a chair of Future Learning Disability Nurses, an informal group for learning disability nursing students to network and support one another.

Northumbria University was also shortlisted in three other categories of the Student Nursing Times Awards, with lecturers Barry Hill and Barbara Davies both in the running for the Best Student Experience title, and work on a creative health awareness training programme with the Lawnmowers Theatre Company being shortlisted for Partnership of the Year.

Northumbria University offers a variety of speciality nursing programmes and is currently ranked number one in the UK for children’s nursing according to The Guardian.

The University recently announced ambitious plans to develop its Centre for Health and Social Equity, known as CHASE. The Centre, which is expected to open by 2027, will bring together academics working on health, social care, education and wellbeing programmes across Northumbria’s City and Coach Lane Campuses into one central base in the heart of Newcastle.

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