A midwifery student from Edinburgh Napier University believes her experiences as a new mum helped develop her award-winning caring skills.
Ellen Pool received the Simon Pullin Award – an honour established by the university to recognise the human side of nursing and midwifery – at her graduation ceremony on October 27.
The award was created in memory of Senior Nurse Simon Pullin, who played a key role in Edinburgh Napier’s Compassionate Care Programme up until his death from cancer in July 2011.
Mum-of-one Ellen, 32, of Morningside, Edinburgh, impressed judges with her account of her experiences on a placement at the city’s Royal Infirmary.
The written piece – which outlined the way she cared for a distressed new mum with raised blood pressure in a busy maternity unit and her reflections afterwards – demonstrated her understanding of compassionate care.
Her submission for the award also included feedback from a woman she had supported through her pregnancy, a community midwife mentor and one of her lecturers.
Bachelor of Midwifery graduate Ellen, who received £250 prize money at her graduation ceremony at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, believes her experiences as a mum to Eloise, now two, further reinforced her enthusiasm for compassionate care.
She said: “I am very proud to receive this award. Through my placements in hospital I have come to understand some of the challenges of supporting women and their families, and meeting their emotional and practical needs within busy and pressurised maternity units.
“Having a baby during the course and experiencing maternity care firsthand has given me another perspective on the simple things we can do as midwives that can really enhance a woman’s experience of birth.
“I’m looking forward to continuing my midwifery journey and working in such a wonderful profession.”
Edinburgh Napier’s Compassionate Care Programme encourages nursing and midwifery students to go further than just looking after the health of the patient. It emphasises the benefits of responding to needs not necessarily related to illness, like ensuring patients have the privacy they need.
Dr Stephen Smith, who is Lead Nurse in Compassionate Care, said: “Ellen is a worthy winner of the Simon Pullin Award. Being compassionate in busy clinical settings is a significant challenge for many, and the professional’s response has an important impact on experiences of care.
“At Edinburgh Napier, we strive to ensure our nurses and midwives receive the very best clinical training. But it is also crucial for our graduates to develop an understanding of the needs of individual patients and their relatives and what is important to them while they are receiving health care.”