A young nursing student was honoured for her outstanding caring skills after turning to poetry to articulate the demands of the job.
Maggie Hampson, 22, produced a selection of poignant, gritty and moving verses which reflected her feelings as she worked with cancer patients and people suffering from dementia.
Now, after graduating from Edinburgh Napier with a Bachelor of Nursing (Adult) degree, she has been named this year’s winner of the university’s Simon Pullin Award.
In her submission for the prize, Maggie wrote about the rapport she built with a lady suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease who she looked after during a placement at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital.
Maggie, from Clogheen, County Tipperary, Ireland, but now living in Blackburn, West Lothian, made ‘reminder cards’ for the patient to explain where she was, spelled out what each of her tablets was for and walked the corridors with her, their relationship becoming so trusting that the patient often refused medication from anyone else.
Speaking about her placement in general, Maggie added: “Each day I was reminded that the care I delivered was appreciated, whether that was a patient grabbing my hand, giving me a hug or crying the day I said my goodbyes.”
She also included in her submission a selection of powerful self-penned poems, discussing in graphic detail her experiences as a carer and reflecting on the role of a nurse.
Maggie wrote about caring for a young man with a brain tumour and sepsis, and also about the close personal support which a nurse gives a patient as part of their everyday working routine.
Dr Stephen Smith, a senior lecturer at the university and a nurse consultant in compassionate care with NHS Lothian, said Maggie was a very worthy winner of this year’s Simon Pullin Award.
The honour, which comes with £250 in prize money, was established to recognise the human side of nursing and midwifery. It was created in memory of Senior Nurse Simon Pullin, who played a key role in the university’s Compassionate Care Programme up until his death from cancer in July 2011.
Dr Smith said: “Maggie’s poems and lyrics added creativity to her portfolio, and reinforced the evidence of what she had learned about providing compassionate care in the real world of practice.”
Emma Trotter, Maggie’s Personal Development Tutor in the School of Health & Social Care, said she had been an outstanding student who had shown commitment and enthusiasm throughout her studies, adding: “She has a warm personality and caring approach, and has especially strong values and beliefs regarding compassionate care.”
Maggie was thrilled to be named as this year’s Simon Pullin Award winner. She said: “This must make me the happiest newly qualified nurse ever; I’m over the moon. I would like to dedicate the award to every member of staff at Edinburgh Napier University who has supported me throughout a challenging but wonderful three years.”
Following graduation, Maggie is now taking up her first nursing post at St John’s Hospital in Livingston.