Staff at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust have made it a bumper summer for prizes for learning.
As Chief Executive Lorraine Lambert explained: “We have recently enjoyed a run of successes and I could not be prouder of the staff concerned.
“The ability of our employees to dedicate themselves to learning and development so they can improve patient care and lead the way in the NHS never ceases to amaze me.
“They are an inspiration to their colleagues both here and further afield, and it is always a great pleasure to see them rewarded by having their hard work acknowledged.”
Adrian Anim, who is a community nurse in the Trust’s learning disability service, was one of five Northumbria University graduates who were presented with a coveted health award for their efforts in both practice and theory while training to become nurses and midwives.
They were selected by seven trustees, who considered their academic grades and supporting letters from course tutors, hospital staff and patients with whom they worked while on placement.
The ability of our employees to dedicate themselves to learning and development so they can improve patient care and lead the way in the NHS never ceases to amaze me.Lorraine Lambert, chief executive, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust
Adrian also received an award at his graduation for best academic student and he was a finalist in the Learning Disabilities category of the Student Nursing Times Student Awards 2014.
A former painter and decorator, he was 40 when he went to university to do his nursing degree.
He had also worked as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities and a foster carer and it was this experience that led him to consider nursing as a career.
“I felt I had to learn more and do more, but I left school with no qualifications, so it was a massive achievement for me when I was accepted for the university course.
“I found it overwhelming at first but I received great support from my tutors and my peers and for three years I just knuckled down and worked non-stop.
“All the hard work was worth it because I now have a rewarding job that I love.
“When I got the letter saying I was going to receive a Heath Award, I had to read it over and over again because I couldn’t believe it.
“I feel very honoured and it just goes to show that you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.”
The Heath Awards, which are presented annually, are provided through a legacy from South Shields-born George Yeoman Heath, who died in 1892.
A surgeon and teacher, he was President of the College of Medicine in Newcastle and the first Professor of Surgery to the University of Durham College of Medicine in Newcastle.
James Taylor is another of the Trust’s high achievers.
He joined the biomedical engineering department as a teenage apprentice and has now been awarded a first-class honours degree in Medical Equipment Technologies Management from Kingston University London.
After completing his initial four-year training, which was linked with South Tyneside College and the Northern and Yorkshire NHS Assessment Centre, he decided to do a foundation degree in Medical Technologies, which led on to the full degree.
Senior Biomedical Engineer James’s achievement was the result of three-and-a-half years of distance learning in his own time, involving 16 hours a week on the computer.
James, who covers the paediatric and neonatal life support and diagnostics speciality in the biomedical engineering department at South Tyneside District Hospital, said: “I am grateful for the practical support from the team, including my manager Mike Cox, and for the financial support from the Trust, which meant I was able to do the degree.”
And as reported in the Gazette earlier this week, district nurse Lisa Milne is celebrating after being awarded the prize from the Queen’s Nursing Institute for the top performing student in the district nursing programme at Northumbria University.
Lisa, who has been a nurse for 17 years, said: “I’m overwhelmed at this honour.
“It was tough juggling an intensive course with looking after my eight-year-old daughter, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I want to do more qualifications in the future so I can offer my patients a truly holistic service.”