Winner: Steven Young, Nicola Ozatalay, Kaye Nichol, Ross McQuarrie, Elspeth Leaver and Sinead McLean are finalists in the Andrew Parker Student Nurse Award category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016.

Steven Young (bottom right) and the team.  Picture credit: Mike Wilkinson

They organised a conference about reducing health inequalities for people with learning disabilities.

The award, supported by the RCN, recognises nursing students whose practice, perceptions or interactions with patients have changed as a result of an incident or experience during training.

The team, from University of the West of Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University, aimed to empower nursing students to reflect on their practice to improve care for their patients with learning disabilities. Experts and organisations invited to present at the conference focused on communication and service-user involvement.

The event met Nursing and Midwifery Council requirements and third-year student attendees from each university ran follow up smaller events for first-year students.

Steven Young (standing) and the team.  Picture credit: Mike Wilkinson

Steven explains: The legacy of the event would be that each university following their attendance would have the opportunity to host their own smaller events, run by third year students for first-year students, meeting NMC outcomes and improving health inequalities.

The group has also created the learning disability awareness network.

Steven says the experience has been invaluable: We have had the opportunity to become involved in aspects of organisation and decision making that student nurses would not normally have access to. Working together with different organisations has been a great experience and will be useful in practice.

While developing new organisational and management skills, the core team has learned a tremendous amount about learning disabilities and access to healthcare.

We have had an opportunity to reflect on how our own practice can affect person-centred outcomes for vulnerable adults and have relished the opportunity to share this learning with students across Scotland.

Most importantly our practice in relation to people with learning difficulties is forever changed and we will now fight to eradicate the barriers faced by people with learning difficulties.

About the sponsor

Royal College of Nursing


In 2016 the Royal College of Nursing celebrates a centenary as the voice of the profession. From its original educational and professional objectives, the college has grown into the largest professional union for nursing with more than 430,000 members including nurses, midwives, healthcare support workers and students. It continues to campaign across the UK and internationally, influencing policy and practice for the benefit of nursing staff and their patients. Sponsoring the Andrew Parker Student Nurse Award tonight is just part of the colleges commitment to supporting nursing excellence for 100 years more.

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