Becky Sands
Leanne Scott

At the end of every year the School of Health Sciences get together for their annual staff and student awards to celebrate amazing achievements within the school. This year they were even more determined to share their successes considering the challenges they have faced.

Patricia Kydd, organiser of the awards and one of the schools nursing lecturer said ‘2020 has been a year like no other and therefore even more reason to celebrate our fantastic students and staff here at the School of Health Sciences. We are delighted to celebrate our students and staff achievements at this year’s awards ceremony which will be a little different this year due to the current restrictions. The awards ceremony has grown since its creation back in 2016 which was initiated to recognise the incredible work undertaken by students and staff alike. This year although our celebrations will be virtual they are no less important and we hope you can join us on Friday 4th December @ 4pm. the ceremony will be led by the Dean, Professor Lynn Kilbride’

OneDundee caught up with two of our nurses and winners of the school awards as they take time to reflect on their university experience.

Leanne Scott – Adult Nursing

Winner of Student Nurse of the Year Award

Tell us about your final placement working during the pandemic

I have recently finished my final placement in the midst of the current pandemic, this was different to previous years as we were no longer supernumerary and we were responsible for a bay of patients like a nurse would be. However, my allocated placement was extremely supportive and I was still allocated a fantastic mentor that I worked alongside for the first few weeks before I was then taking a bay of patients on my own. The experience of this was phenomenal and it really made me prepared for the real thing when I qualified; I found the transition experience between student and registered nurse much easier because of this. It was very important to have a good support network during this time – my learning team facilitator at university and my classmates were great and we frequently arranged online meetings in which we could discuss matters and get support from one another if we were feeling overwhelmed by it all.

Why did you choose to study at Dundee University and how have you found the experience?

I chose to study at the University of Dundee not only because I live here but also the school of nursing at the university has a fantastic reputation for learning. The lecturers were supportive in helping us develop as nurses and the facilities available to us such as the clinical skills centre in Ninewells enabled us to develop our practical skills. The placement opportunities at the university are excellent, you are allocated a wide range of practice areas from district nursing and health visiting to the wards.

How does it feel to have been nominated and win Student Nurse of the Year?

I had no idea that my previous mentor and other staff from my last placement had nominated me for the student nurse of the year award – they kept it completely secret from me! It was a complete surprise to open the email and find out I had won this award and it means the world to me – I will never

forget the feeling I had when I found out! It was such a great feeling to know that the care I provided was so highly commended and I hope I can make a difference to everyone that I care for.

Any advice you’d give to future nursing students at the University

My advice to a 1st year student is not to overthink things and panic! When we go in to our first ever placement, we all have the same feelings in that we watch the registered nurses and think “how do they know what to do?” or “how will I ever know that?”. This is completely normal and through the learning at university and the experience gained on placements, everything will come together. Have fun on placement and it is completely normal to have good days and bad days – it is part of being a nurse!

Becky Sands – Child Nursing

Sir James Black Award

Tell us about your final placement working during the pandemic

I completed my final placement during the COVID-19 pandemic, an experience which has greatly shaped how I practice as a newly qualified nurse today. New regulations and restrictions meant that nursing practice had to adapt, but the core elements remained fundamental.

Why did you choose to study at Dundee University and how have you found the experience?

I decided to study paediatric nursing as I wanted a career which would support life-long learning and provide genuine fulfilment. Studying at UoD has been brilliant and has surpassed all expectations! I had great exposure to learning opportunities in clinical practice and thoroughly enjoyed the tutorials/lectures provided by the nursing school.

How does it feel to have been nominated and win one of the Sir James Black Award?

I felt humbled to be nominated and receive an award from the School. It has been a great encouragement to continue my interests in research and health improvement projects. I wish to show my gratitude for my academic supervisor Dr Linda Martindale for her support throughout my Honour’s project and for her guidance in the upcoming submission for its publication.

Any advice you’d give to future nursing students at the University

Embrace every opportunity on clinical placements – enthusiasm goes a long way! Ask questions whenever you can. Support your colleagues, nursing and other health care professionals work as a team. Finally, remember there is good in every shift and that it is a privilege to provide care for another individual.

Winners of the 2020 student and staff awards

Rhys Greig – Ellen Kelly Award

Leanne Scott – Student Nurse of the Year Award

Jessica Maye – Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year

Sameena Saeed – Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year

Brian Webster – Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year

Becky Sands – Sir James Black Award

Carolyn Johnstone – Staff Award (excellence)

Claire Roberts – Staff Award (impact)