Deputy Vice-Chancellor Steve Igoe with Alice Waddington, Eve Hesketh and Emily Kavanagh who are holding the awards they were presented with outside the main building at Edge Hill University

Three recently qualified Edge Hill University learning disability nurses were today (Thursday 10 October) presented with trophies to recognise their innovative contribution to healthcare.

At an event held at the Ormskirk campus, Alice Waddington, Emily Kavanagh and Eve Hesketh, who formally handed three national awards to the university for display, were delighted to receive their very own trophies, presented by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Steve Igoe.

He said: “It’s so important that we recognise and celebrate the contribution our students and alumni make to society and in this case, a contribution that is changing lives.  

“That’s why it’s been an absolute pleasure to present these trophies today, to thank them for that contribution, the hard work they’ve put in, and to wish them the very best of luck for their careers.

“We cannot forget that this all happened while they were studying for their degrees, and that alone is no mean feat. We’re very lucky to have people like Alice, Emily and Eve in the nursing profession.”  

Earlier this year the recently qualified learning disability nurses won three national awards for the creation of Makaton healthcare cards and support for raising awareness of those who are not able to communicate through speech alone.

The prestigious awards they won earlier on in the year included the Andrew Park Student Nurse Award at the 2019 RCNi Nurse Awards, that was presented by Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke. All three awards will now be proudly displayed at the University.  

This year marks 100 years since the introduction of specialised training courses for learning disability nurses. Emily, who works as a learning disability nurse at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, said: “As lovely as these awards are, we did it for Alice and then anyone else who needed it. If we can inspire people to make that small change in their communication, it’ll help other people get their voice.”

Alice, a Makaton user, is the daughter of Amanda Glennon, who nominated the three students for the 2019 Student Nursing Times Awards for their support in raising awareness for people with learning disabilities.

Alice Waddington, who works in an adult community learning disability team, echoed what Emily said: “We noticed a gap in the curriculum and encouraged other people to become learning disability champions, with other students wanting to learn more, and then all this happened!”

Eve, who works at Manchester Children’s Hospital, added: “We didn’t expect this at all, we never expected any glory from this. All we set out to do was improve patient care and for them to have a more positive experience when they go to see their GP, or when they go to hospital. We just wanted to give them something that was familiar and ultimately put them at ease.”

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

The students were able to travel to London to collect the awards with thanks to Edge Hill’s Student Opportunity Fund. The fund gives students of all levels the chance to gain career-enhancing experiences and transferable skills. Find out you can apply for financial support from the Student Opportunity Fund here: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/scholarships/student-opportunity-fund/