A nursing student was so inspired by a placement on an older adults acute ward that he is now a dementia friend, a 6Cs caremaker and is undertaking research into pre-registration attitudes to older people.

Adam Beales.  Picture credit: Tim George

University of Nottingham second-year mental health student Adam Beales was able to encourage a dehydrated patient with dementia to increase her fluid intake by using her favourite drink to flavour mouth-care swabs.

He asked her family if she liked any particular drinks and used the idea of mouth-care swabs to introduce it. She recognised the flavour and with time and encouragement increased her fluid intake significantly during the shift.

Adam says: Having worked in the past with individuals aged predominantly 16-25, I thought I would dislike the placement immensely holding very stereotypical views of the patients before starting.

However remaining professional I gave it a chance, recognising my views and putting them to one side. The placement was amazing one of my favourites to date. I had so many learning opportunities and experiences that shaped my nursing practice.

As a direct result of the placement Adam became a dementia friend and is a volunteer caremaker an ambassador for the chief nurses 6Cs initiative.

Adam Beales.  Picture credit: Tim George

He is now conducting research into the views students hold about older adults when entering a pre-registration nursing degree and has become a peer mentor.

Adam is setting up a campus nursing society to support nursing students and hold events enabling discussions on current challenges and developments.

Adam is a finalist in the Andrew Parker Student Nurse Award category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016.

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

Adam says: Being shortlisted for the award is a tremendous honour but came as quite a shock.

Its not only a testament to all the teaching at the University of Nottingham but all the staff on my current and previous placements.

I'm so glad to have been able to share my learning and knowledge to make a difference to patient care. Even if I do not win I know at least I am taking positive steps in my nursing career.

Patrick Callaghan, head of Nottingham Universitys school of health sciences, says: We are delighted for, and proud of, Adam. He is the personification of nursing caring, compassionate and competent in all he does. He upholds the standards of the profession with integrity and is an excellent ambassador for the profession, the school and university.

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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