Nursing student is on ‘red alert’ for a possible award

Providing first-class support during the pandemic and going the extra mile with extracurricular activities mean one nursing student at the University is up for national recognition.

Red Sheppard – from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire – is in the final year of his degree in Adult Nursing. He will finish the course in two weeks, but has just found out he is up for a highly prized Nursing Times Award for Student Nurse of the Year, Adult Nursing*.

Red received several commendations, as he explains: “It’s a bit of a cliché with nurses, but we don’t do this job for awards, although it’s very nice to be recognised for a job well done. I feel like I am in this position because of the University and Northampton General Hospital where I am based, and the trust they all have in me. I’d like to say that they are all doing their job fantastically well in making well-rounded nurses.

“I feel quite humbled to receive the nomination and am blown away by some of the citations I’ve read, although it feels a bit weird reading positive comments about yourself! Lots of the things people have mentioned have been about the extracurricular things I’ve done at the University, being enthusiastic and about working as a Healthcare Assistant during the pandemic.

“That has to be one of my proudest achievements during my time at the University. As nurses, we are always learning but if, as students, you can work through something like Covid and reflect on what you have learned, you can work through anything!”

The news has left Red happily surprised and bemused, considering nursing is a profession he didn’t originally intend on entering. He continues his story: “I originally wanted to go into politics or communications, something with a firm public focus. But the more I looked at those careers, the more I realised they weren’t the right academic fit for me.

“I still wanted to work with the public and advocate for them, so I thought about healthcare as the idea of also being able to work ‘with my hands’ and have a physical, caring and compassionate role also really appealed to me. I wanted a role where I could go home at the end of the day with a special feeling about doing something good along those lines. For me, it had to be nursing and University of Northampton (UON) was the best choice.”

Now nearing the end of his degree Red looks back fondly on why he decided to study at UON: “It’s relatively close to home and I came here for a few Open Days and the course looked good, individually tailored and personal.

“Between the placements, classroom work and the extracurricular options, I feel comfortably on the cusp of taking the next step and going into practise. The degree has changed my life and I can’t thank the team enough for making me a different person – in a very good way!”

*The Student Nursing Times Awards will be held on Friday 27 May.

Find out more about Adult Nursing at the University of Northampton.

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