Pictured from left: Alice, Eve and Emily show off some of the Makaton healthcare cards

An award-winning team of nursing students from Edge Hill University have been recognised with another prestigious prize in London.

Alice Waddington (from Leyland), Emily Kavanagh (Lytham St Annes) and Eve Hesketh (Wigan) picked up the Andrew Park Student Nurse Award at the 2019 RCNi Nurse Awards from actress Emilia Clarke, an ambassador and champion of the profession.

The newly-qualified learning disability nurses, who were also winners of the Student Innovation in Practice accolade in the 2019 Student Nursing Times Awards, were nominated for their continued work in the promotion of the Makaton language, designed to provide a means of communication to people who have difficulty speaking.

Inspired by a mother’s story of how her daughter struggled to communicate with healthcare professionals, the learning disability students have continued to raise awareness of Makaton signing amongst their peers via workshops, promoting their cards which have since been downloaded over 5,000 times from The Makaton Charity website.

Their work has reached other areas of society thanks to social media, allowing them to engage with a diverse audience who have helped spread the message.

Following the ceremony, which was hosted by Kate Garraway, the trio spoke of their success:

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have won the Andrew Parker Student Nurse of the Year award. It was an amazing evening and we felt privileged to be in the company of such inspirational nurses. We were also lucky enough to raise the profile of Makaton by teaching Kate Garraway to sign ‘Hello my name is Kate’ and managed to give Emilia Clarke a copy of our Makaton healthcare cards, which we created.

“We are so excited that we won this award and aim to use this platform to raise further awareness around inclusive communication and the profile of learning disability nursing.”

To find out more about the Faculty of Health and Social Care, including recruitment details for Adult, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities degrees (September 2019 and January 2020), and Mental Health Nursing and Social Work (September 2019) click here.