Nursing students Steven Young and Nicola Ozatalay along with students from Edinburgh Napier University organised a conference about reducing health inequalities for people with learning disabilities and their efforts have won a National Student Award; the Andrew Parker Student Nurse Award.
The awards, supported by the Royal College of Nurses (RCN), recognises nursing students whose practice, perceptions or interactions with patients have changed as a result of an incident or experience during training.
The conference team 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.
The group has also created a 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 also 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.’