Hail Hannah and well done, Emma and Gary.

Massive congrats to Hannah Barnes who was  a winner at the Student Nursing Times of the Year awards when we also had three other finalists.

Gary Miles and Emma Armitage (formerly Melkowski) were also finalists, as was CHFT as a Trust for its work training and supporting our students.

We asked Hannah more about how it felt to win and her experience as a midwife so far:

How did it feel to win?

I was really surprised. I still don't think it's really sunk in yet. It was a massive honour to have been nominated by one of my lecturers but then to have been shortlisted and then to win was amazing. The awards event itself was a fantastic event. It was great to be involved in an event that celebrates nursing excellence, and it was really inspiring to see all the other shortlisted nominations and the winners of the other awards. 

How much have your colleagues helped you?

I have received amazing support throughout the course from the lecturers at the University of Huddersfield, the other members of my cohort and mentors and other members of the multi-disciplinary team while on placement. I have had some amazing mentors who have really encouraged me to challenge myself and they have supported to me get the most out of my placements. 

What makes a good midwife?

I think there are a lot of different aspects that make up a good midwife. Personally I feel that good communication skills are essential- you need to be able to communicate well with the women and families in your care, but also other members of the team to ensure the woman receives safe and effective care. I think being able to adapt quickly to a wide range of situations is also important, and to able to do this calmly and competently. I have had the privilege to work with a great number of midwives who display these skills, including being caring and compassionate, dedicated to providing woman-centered care and working well as a member of the wider midwifery team. 

How do you cope with difficult births?

I can honestly say that this can be really challenging at times. When there have been difficult births I always make sure that I discuss it with my mentor afterwards. This then enables me to process what has happened, identify any areas that I was unsure about or that I think went well, and helps me to learn from the experience. I feel that I have received excellent support from not just my mentor, but also senior members of the midwifery team when there has been a difficult situation. It's really reassuring to know that there is a lot of support available following difficult situations and that you are not left to cope with it alone. We also have the support of the University to talk through any challenging situations with our personal tutors or within our regular reflection sessions. This is very helpful as it encourages us to reflect on your practice routinely, which is an important aspect of midwifery practice as a whole. 

Have you cried after a birth?

I have. Witnessing my first birth was such an overwhelming experience. I was quite proud of myself because I managed to wait until I had finished my shift and was sat in my car before the tears came! There have been a few times since then that I've felt myself getting emotional following a birth but I think that it's understandable. The families we support allow us into such a special time of their lives and it really does feel like a massive privilege. 

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There were a record 600 entries in this year's awards. Our representatives left at 7am and got back at 10pm having spent nine hours in a minibus!

Emma was in the Mentor of the Year category and was nominated by Cara Seston, Senior Lecturer and Field Lead for Adult Nursing at Huddersfield University.

Cara, said Emma was exceptional and a brilliant leader who goes over and above in her role, providing emotional and practical support beyond what is strictly necessary.

Clinical Academic Nurse Gary Miles was nominated in the Learner of the Year: Post Registration by Huddersfield Univerity's Professor Felicity Astin (second left in all finalists pic). It was for his work in a joint role funded by Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust and the University of Huddersfield. 

Gary is working with a team on a nurse-led initiative to promote sleep and rest at night in ward environments, as he knows many factors disturb patient sleep at night and some of these can be changed for the better. 

CHFT was up for an award for our partnership working with the University of Huddersfield on the delivery of the Trainee Nursing Associate programme, and Michelle Bamforth represented CHFT (pictured left in all finalists pic). CHFT are the lead partners and have worked closely with the University, CCG and other Trust to develop an exciting, innovative and bespoke training package. 

Also pictured is Tiffany Dyson (second from right). Tiffany used to work at CHFT as a Practice Learning Facilitator at CHFT, though now works at the University.