The skills and dedication of two Salford students have been recognised in the national Cavell Nurses’ Trust competition to find the best student midwife.
Judith Jones was named Outstanding Student Midwife by the 2014 Scholarship Awards, and Paulina Ewa Sporek was awarded a certificate of commendation.
Judith is now looking forward to using the travel scholarship to study midwifery practice in other areas of the country when she qualifies in September. She said: “I really never expected to win, so when I was told I was totally shocked. It’s such a great honour and something I couldn’t have done without the support of my husband, Andrew.”
Judith’s route to midwifery came through a series of community jobs. “I’ve always wanted to work with people and through my work at a job centre I took on community-based projects. Then I had my children and realised what midwives are able to do, looking after families at their most vulnerable without judgment, and what a privilege it is to do that.”
To prepare for her midwifery degree course, Judith studied with the Open University; taking her four-week-old son to tutorials. Now Judith and Andrew juggle studying for both of their degrees, working with the demands of a six-year-old and a three-year-old. Andrew works in regeneration at Manchester City Council and is studying part-time for a degree in politics, philosophy and economics.
Paulina Sporek studied at paramedic school in Poland and decided to take up the challenge of studying midwifery when she moved to the UK. Her commendation is for ‘Deaf Nest’, a project to improve deaf users’ personal experience, equality of access, choice and control over maternity care.
A conference for midwives, health professionals and service users is planned at the University in June to raise awareness of deaf issues, and Paulina is creating leaflets, visual aids, quick reference diagrams, flash cards and videos presented in British Sign Language which will support deaf women and their families.
Paulina said: “I’m really proud to be recognised in the awards. Entering has helped me realise my own strengths and it is an encouragement and motivation in my midwifery career.”
Last month Paulina also won a Royal College of Midwives Award for the Deaf Nest project – the first time a student has won one of these prestigious awards since they were established 14 years ago.
Cavell Nurses' Trust Chief Executive Kate Tompkins said: “It is most inspiring to hear the next generation of nurses and midwives talk with such passion and conviction about their chosen fields.
"The scholarships continue to go from strength to strength and Cavell Nurses' Trust is proud to recognise and reward the commitment and hard work of students through these highly regarded awards."
The award winners will be presented with their prizes and certificates by HRH The Princess Royal at a special ceremony in London’s Fishmonger’s Hall on 19 March.