The highest achieving nursing and midwifery professionals in the north-east have been recognised by Robert Gordon University (RGU).
A new mental health nursing prize created in memory of a dearly missed member of staff at RGU has been awarded for the first time.
The Dr Andrew McKie Memorial Quaich was donated by the McKie family after the popular mental health lecturer passed away last year.
Other awards conferred at the ceremony were the Mentor of the Year Award, the Jennie Parry Prize for Clinical and Academic Excellence and the Honourable Lady Bannatyne Prize for students in the field of Children and Young People’s (CYP) Nursing.
The Dr Andrew McKie Memorial Quaich was presented to Alan Rucroft from Boddam who graduated this year with a degree in Mental Health Nursing from RGU, and was a student in Dr McKie’s personal tutor group.
The award will be presented each year to a mental health nursing student who, on completion of their pre-registration nurse education, demonstrates the nursing values held so dear by Dr McKie.
Alan (30), who also studied at North East Scotland College before beginning his RGU studies, received his award from a member of Andy’s family.
He said: "I was very surprised to receive the award but also very proud. Andy was a fantastic lecturer and person. I was glad to have the chance to be taught by him and have his interest in mental illness and ethics inspire me."
Alan’s application for the award was supported by his personal tutor Josey Mackenzie.
She said: “Alan continued to grow in confidence and competence during the course and this is reflected in his the excellent grade A achieved for placement experience. He could be relied upon to produce work of a very high standard and he had really good relationships with patients and staff.
“His calm influencing manner was described as a clear asset when working with people who were distressed.
“Alan was a quiet and gentle student with excellent listening skills. As he grew in confidence he shared excellent insights within group tutorials. His caring nature enabled good supportive relationships with peers, clinical and academic staff.”
Senior Staff Nurse at NHS Grampian Tanya Laurenson, from Aberdeen, received the Mentor of the Year award from Professor Ian Murray, Head of RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery.
She was nominated by nursing student Kathryn Robertson following her placement at the Emergency Care Centre in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI).
Tanya (31), said: “I am delighted to be recognised as Mentor of the Year and it is an honour to have been nominated by Kathryn following her placement in my team.
“As well as mentoring Kathryn during the placement I was also progressing in my career to senior staff nurse.
“Although there were challenges adapting to my new role it was important to remain focused on the educational development of our future nurses and I’m very please I’ve been able to play my part in that.”
Tanya worked with Kathryn to build her confidence and also helped her to develop vital nursing skills in a busy work environment.
Kathryn said: “Tanya worked very hard with me and helped me gain so much more confidence and taught me mountains of knowledge.
“I cannot express the amount of help and support she has given me. Tanya has really helped me grow as a person and I left the placement like a different person and it is thanks to her.
“I really cannot thank Tanya enough and couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. Any nursing student would be extremely lucky to have Tanya as their mentor.”
Mental Health Nursing student Rob Bradley, from Aberdeen, scooped the Jennie Parry Prize for Clinical and Academic Excellence.
The award was donated by the retired Head of School for a student who, throughout their training, demonstrated actual or potential leadership and clinical excellence.
Rob (36), is a staff nurse at the Skene ward in the city’s Royal Cornhill Hospital.
He said: “I came into nursing at a crossroads in my life. It has given me focus, self-confidence and fulfilment and I'm proud to have been able to repay some of that.
“Winning the Jenny Parry award means a great deal to me and I would like to thank the amazing people who have supported, taught and inspired me through my three years at university."
Rob, who collected his award from Mrs Jennie Parry, received support for his application from personal tutor Josey Mackenzie.
She said: “Rob proceeded to gain in confidence and competence throughout the course and his excellent standards of care were reflected in his grades.
“He was enthusiastic to learn and gain different experiences and demonstrated an ability to provide patient focused care, and could challenge appropriately when an individual’s needs were not being met.
“Rob consistently demonstrated an extremely high level of motivation and commitment to advancing his knowledge about mental health and caring for people.
“He interacted extremely well with peers, academic and clinical staff and could be relied upon to provide genuine support and encouragement to others.”
The Honourable Lady Bannatyne Prize for students in the field of Children and Young People’s (CYP) Nursing was awarded to Ciaira O’Keeffe.
Lady Bannatyne lectured at the university for 28 years, primarily specialising in children and young people nursing. During this time she was known by her former name, Mrs Rose Smith.
After her retirement in 2009 she married Lord Bannatyne (Iain Peebles) - a judge of the High Court of Justiciary and Court of Session in Scotland - and consequently took the honorary title of Lady Bannatyne.
Ciaira (23), who is originally from Cork, Ireland, was nominated by Helen Muir, Practice Education Lecturer at RGU, and received her award from Lady Bannatyne.
Ciaira said: “Finding out I had won the Honourable Lady Bannatyne Prize was a huge surprise.
“It was a difficult decision just over three years ago to leave Ireland to pursue my studies, but I worked very hard along with all my classmates at RGU.
“We received great support from our lecturers and I feel honoured to be recognised with this award.”
Helen Muir said: “In terms of on-going commitment to her studies Ciaira worked very hard. She was always very enthusiastic and motivated and keen to learn.
“She demonstrated passion for the field of CYP Nursing during her placements and was always helpful and supportive to her fellow students.
“Ciaira also took an active approach to ensure her progression throughout the programme by seeking help from appropriate sources in a timely manner, attending classes and participating actively in classroom teaching.”
Alison McLennan, Head of Practice Learning at RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “Dr Andrew McKie was renowned for his humanity, scholarship, professionalism and passion for mental health nursing.
“He was an outstanding academic, a true friend, teacher and colleague to many at the School of Nursing and Midwifery and beyond. We’re proud to award the Dr Andrew McKie Memorial Quaich for the first time alongside our other annual prizes.
“I would like to offer my personal congratulations to all of our prize winners for their outstanding contributions to the on-going educational development of nurses.
“Choosing the recipients for each award was no easy task due to the high standards of all the nurses and midwives who were nominated and I know this year’s winners will continue to show their passion for educational development and the nursing profession.”
Ross AndersonCommunications Officer | Health and Sport