A University of Cumbria nursing student has won a prestigious national award in recognition of her work to reduce the stigma of mental health among young people.
Third year adult nursing student Zoe Butler was awarded the Andrew Parker Student Nurse Award at the Royal College of Nursing inspiration (RCNi) Awards 2017.
Zoe, from Kendal, was among winners at the event supported by Nursing Standard and sponsored by Guidelines for Nurses which was held at the Westminster Park Plaza Hotel in London on Friday (May 5.)
The awards recognise nurses who have come up with new ways to improve health, enhance patient experiences and transform nursing practice.
“I can't describe how amazing it feels to have an award that recognises a project about giving young people a voice and allowing them access to health services in a way that's makes them feel confident in themselves,” Zoe said.
Zoe was instrumental in working with young people to write and film a series of monologues as part of a project called ‘The Hot Potato’ aimed at raising awareness of mental health. Now in use in schools and other organisations across Cumbria, a video is used to prompt discussions regarding mental illness.
“The nursing team are absolutely delighted that an organisation such as the RCN have recognised what an exceptional student Zoe is, although we have always known this,” Louise Corless, senior lecturer in the department of nursing, health and professional practice at the University of Cumbria said. “She is a fantastic role model to peers, junior colleagues and also her tutors, many whom have been both inspired and humbled by her motivation and passion for promoting excellence in learning environments, practice and the wider population. Zoe will make a fantastic nurse as she is committed to providing holistic care. She is a true ambassador for the university and we are extremely proud of her achievements.”
The University of Cumbria has also used Zoe’s work to enable students to consider the impact a mental health condition can have on a young person. It’s hoped the award-winning student will continue to have ties to the university long after she has graduated.
“Were very proud of all students but it’s particularly rewarding for Zoe to be recognised by the RCN,” Louise Nelson, head of nursing, health and professional practice, said.”We hope Zoe will continue to work with us to share her expertise and inspire students of the future.”