Plymouth student wins national award for commitment to patients

A student nurse from the University of Plymouth has won a national award recognising the best in patient care and experience.

Kelly Whitehorn won the Patient Experience Transformer of Tomorrow category at the Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNAs) this month.

She won for her work developing a student nurse-led lunch support for national Nutrition and Hydration Week at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHPNT).

While on placement, she encouraged patients on the acute care of the elderly wards to eat together in the day rooms to bring back the social aspect of lunch, while ensuring student nurses were also available to help in the bays with patients who need extra support during meal times – ranging from cutting food to feeding them.

Plymouth PhD students Toni Page and Rebecca Baines were named runners up in the same category for their work on a digital health champion scheme and co-designing an innovative patient feedback response framework respectively.

The PENNAs are the first and only awards programme to recognise initiatives across all facets of health and social care in the UK, and Plymouth also saw nominations for ACEmobile, an app that helps to carry out dementia screening tests, in the Using Insight from Staff Feedback category; and Embedding Wider Patient Engagement (WPE) into a Pre-Registration Nursing Programme in the Strengthening the Foundation category.

Speaking about her win, Kelly said: 

“It’s really incredible to have been shortlisted for an award like this, let alone win. It was so valuable to bring some student involvement to Nutrition and Hydration Week and we had a great time again this year, volunteering at lunchtimes and helping to empower patients. I think it’s such a privilege to be a student nurse, and simple gestures like cutting up someone’s food can really make all the difference.”

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