A NUMBER of Cork healthcare workers and Nursing and Midwifery students have been honoured at the annual University College Cork (UCC) School of Nursing and Midwifery Achievement Awards which took place virtually today.
The School of Nursing and Midwifery Annual Achievement Awards acknowledges students and healthcare workers who have made broader societal contributions.
The winners were selected based on their exemplary performance in the 2020/2021 academic year with Professor John O'Halloran interim UCC President introducing the award ceremony.
Commenting on the awards, Josephine Hegarty, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery said that Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of nurses and midwives as core front line workers.
"Our frontline health workers have inspired us all in these uncertain and difficult times and our nursing and midwifery students have shown great dedication and resilience," she said.
“The School is in the top 50 schools in the world according to the QS World University Subject Rankings for Nursing - we are very proud of this fact, this is testament to the combined efforts of students and staff.”
The awards were presented to a number of individuals while Best Clinical and Quality Learning Environment of the Year 2021 was awarded to the Local Injury Unit, Mallow General Hospital.
Students said that all staff in the Local Injury Unit were accommodating and great teachers.
UCC Children and General Nursing Student Mary Dwan was awarded the Keady Clifford Award for Excellence in Children’s Nursing 2021. The award was established in memory of Children’s and General Nursing Programme graduate Keady Clifford who tragically died in a car accident in 2018.
Ms Dwan, who now works as a staff nurse at CUH, said that she was “humbled to be chosen as the recipient of this award in Keady’s memory”.
Speaking to The Echo, she said: “It’s such a prestigious award. To even be considered and then to finally receive it, it’s very surreal.
In honour of her late grandmother, student Aoife McCarthy developed a non-profit project called ‘A Painting Speaks a Thousand Words’.
She painted over 40 canvases and posted them to nursing home residents across Ireland and to patients of Mercy University Hospital for Christmas to let them know that they were being thought of during difficult times.
The General Nursing Student received the Award for Recognition in the Arts and Entertainment today.
The Award for Promoting Equality and Diversity Award 2021 was presented to Reema Antony, Clinical Nurse Manager at the Stroke Unit in CUH.
Reema coordinated the Cork Indian Nurses to perform the Jerusalema Dance Challenge earlier this year and danced along with fellow nurses working in hospitals and nursing homes throughout the County.
Speaking to The Echo, she said that they hoped to help lift spirits with the video which has been viewed over 66,000 times.
“It kind of lifted everyone’s spirits,” she added.
The Undergraduate Student of the Year was awarded to Mental Health Nursing student Andrew Hawkins who passionately advocates for increased mental health awareness amongst his peers while the Postgraduate Student of the Year was presented to Deirdre Callanan.
Deirdre is Ireland's first registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner in head and neck oncology.
Intellectual Disability Nursing Student Phyllis Cremin was awarded the Patricia J. Power Excellence in Clinical Practice Award which was presented by the Power family to honour the late Patricia Power.
Based at COPE Foundation, Phyllis has excelled in all of her clinical placements.
“I truly appreciate this award, especially in my final year as a student nurse as I feel it will give me such confidence so close to entering the nursing world," added Phyllis.
Student Leader of the Year 2021 was presented to Dean Murray Cantwell, a fourth-year Mental Health Nursing student. Dean was nominated by several of his peers who cited his exceptional work as class representative, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Intellectual Disability Nursing student Frances O’Connell captained UCC Squash Club and has used her sporting ability to raise money for charity while a student at the School. Frances was presented with the Award for Recognition in Sport 2021 and was described as an example for her classmates, encouraging them to engage in sport.
Fourth-year General Nursing student Michelle Stack received the Community Engagement award. Michelle is doing her internship at the Mercy University Hospital and she is a member of the Student’s Union wellbeing crew, and a committee member for the UCC Simpsons’ and Alzheimer’s societies.
Third Year General Nursing Student Katie Curtin was presented with the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Life in 2021 for her active role in day-to-day student life in UCC and involvement in several student committees.
The Community Activist Award 2021 was presented to Nwanneka Judith Uduh. Nwanneka is a Nursing Studies student from Nigeria and is working on an innovative project that will ensure she brings what she has learnt in UCC back to Africa.
Her project entitled “Improving Patients Experience through Interpersonal Relationship and Respectful Communication” will be delivered to Ugandan health care workers.
The Preceptor of the Year Award was presented to CUMH Midwife Margaret Kelleher who was nominated by four midwifery students who said she always takes the time to engage with students and ensure that they are comfortable with their caseload.
The Annual Awards took place virtually this year following the success of last year's online ceremony.