Nursing student shortlisted for award after creating support group

Categories: School of Health and Society

Second-year adult nursing student Nathan Harrison has been shortlisted in the Student Nursing category at the RCNi Nurse Awards 2020.

Nathan Harrison is smiling at the camera wearing a white University of Salford nurse uniform

He has been recognised for launching a carer support network, after some nursing students at the University of Salford expressed their struggles with managing the demands of the course and their caring responsibilities.

He also set up a Facebook page to facilitate discussions with other students facing these challenges.

Nathan said: ‘It’s an open forum for parents and carers to network with each other, socialise, get peer support and to share their successes. I don’t think people shout enough about the things they do in a programme – I think it’s such an achievement to finish the programme because it’s really intense. Especially with the added responsibilities of being a parent or carer.’

Since launching the group, which now has more than 100 members, he has used feedback to ensure content remains relevant and has completed training on safeguarding and signposting to university support systems.

Feedback shows the page has improved morale and he is working with other universities interested in developing similar projects. 

Nathan is one of 700 nominees across twelve categories – only five have been shortlisted for each category. He is ‘absolutely astonished’ to have been shortlisted for the award.

‘I feel proud to have championed the needs of student nurses with additional caring responsibilities and I look to develop this project further in the final year of my degree. I feel even prouder that I was able to work with the University of Bradford to help them create a similar peer support network for their students. I would like to thank staff from the School of Health and Society and University of Salford Students’ Union for supporting me with this project.’

Nicky Fishburn, Nathan’s personal tutor, said: ‘We are so proud of Nathan for his nomination. This initiative is making a significant difference to students, especially in the current climate where the effects of the coronavirus pandemic may make students feel even more isolated and anxious.’

The RCNi Nurse Awards will be hosting a virtual ceremony later on in the year.

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