A mental health nursing students initiative inspired by his placement in an acute psychiatric unit is improving the monitoring of nutrition and hydration.

Daniel Taylor.  Picture credit: John Houlihan

A number of the service users were not eating or drinking so Daniel Taylor improved the existing food/fluid charts and spearheaded the inclusion of the assessment tool in the hourly observations round.

Daniel, who is in his second year at the University of Leeds, suggested the person doing observations offer fluid every hour when doing checks. Acceptance and the amount drunk can now be recorded, as can refusal.

The tool ensures a more accurate, consistent assessment of fluid intake.

Daniel says: The experience of working with these patients made me realise how quickly physical health can deteriorate as a result of decisions made while in poor mental health. It has made me aware of how important nutritional screening, observing and recording is on physical health, and in turn, mental health.

I have since finished the placement and have worked on the ward through a healthcare agency and have noticed staff are still using the sheet I created, proving its usefulness and longevity.

Daniel Taylor (left) with Tom Norman.  Picture credit: John Houlihan

Daniels initiative won him a place on the shortlist of the Andrew Parker Student Nurse Award category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016.

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.

Daniel was very surprised to find out he had been shortlisted. He adds: It is the result of working in such a supportive and encouraging team.

Head of school of healthcare at the University of Leeds Andrea Nelson says: We are immensely proud of our all students and the impact they make in service delivery, and it is wonderful to have this recognised through the nomination of Daniel Taylor.

His work builds on the important links between mental and physical health and this is timely given that recent evidence has reiterated the impact on physical health of having a mental health problem.

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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