A University of Nottingham student who was inspired to train to be a nurse after working with children with learning disabilities at a nursery has won a major national award from the Nursing Times.
Anna Johnson, a third year BSc Nursing for Learning Disabilities student, won the Student Nurse of the Year 2018 in the Learning Disabilities category at a ceremony in London.
Anna, who is 23 and from Derby, was one of eleven students from the University’s School of Health Sciences, nominated as finalists at the Student Nursing Times Awards which recognises excellence in nurse training.
Anna said: “My inspiration for a career with people with learning disabilities came from when I first started working at a mainstream nursery. A young boy started in the pre-school room where I was working. Staff gradually suspected that he had autism. I worked with a wide range of health professionals and a diagnosis was made within six months. Working with this young boy gave me a feeling of great achievement because I could support him to learn skills that would enable him to live a fulfilling life and achieve his potential.”
Anna’s winning submission to the Student Nursing Times awards was based on a survey she had conducted which highlighted the limited knowledge that student nurses from other fields have about learning disabilities. The data from the survey made clear the important role that learning disability student nurses and qualified nurses have in educating others about people with learning disabilities and what can be done to support them. A resulting website and Twitter account now promotes learning disability nursing as well as providing education about learning disabilities.
Anna said: “I want to thank everyone at the University of Nottingham’s School of Health Sciences, including Dr John McCluskey and Dr David Charnock for pushing me to enter for this award. Winning it has given me a huge boost in confidence to educate others and to aim high. This new-found confidence will give me motivation to apply for future jobs. I will continue to strive to educate others in how to effectively provide outstanding care to those individuals with learning disabilities.”
Professor Joanne Lymn, Head of the School Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham said: “I am so proud of all the students from the School who were finalists at the awards and especially thrilled that Anna Johnson won Student Nurse of the Year: Learning Disabilities. This is the fourth year running that students from Nottingham have won that particular award and is obviously a true testament to the quality of our students and to the staff who support them to achieve at this high level.”
The Student Nursing Times Awards judging panel commented: “Anna is a true rising star, a future leader, compassionate and professional – everything we look for in a learning disability nurse.”
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