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Rose James, 24, from Upton, Wirral, has used her time at the University to make real change to both the curriculum and to improving the experience of other students as well as achieving an outstanding first class degree in BN Adult Nursing.

Last year, Rose was recognised for her hard work in empowering the student voice by being awarded the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Student Affairs award by the Student Nursing Times. Alongside fellow recent graduate Daniel Branch and Peg Murphy, Senior Lecturer in the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care, Rose established the Student Empowerment Group (SEG) where she acted as Co-Chair. The SEG was set up to give students a platform to be heard and be given an even better experience during their studies.

During her first year of study, Rose was invited to become the Student Representative for the Programme Planning Team (PPT). The team was set up by the University’s Director of Pre-registration Nursing, Julie Dulson, to write the new curriculum under the new Nursing and Midwifery Council Guidelines for pre-registration nurses, which required the inclusion of the student voice in order for it to become validated. In this role, Rose attended meetings to provide feedback and assist in co-writing the new course content.

She took the points back to the SEG and the team contacted students from across all sites, years and programmes for their feedback on modules and decisions on the new curriculum. Rose then collated this information for the PPT. All decisions relating to a module or the curriculum were made with Rose’s involvement to liaise with fellow students to gain their insight and feedback.

Rose also devised a new project currently being developed by the SEG called Your First of Everything, an interactive tool for students and staff to share reflections and experiences enabling students to learn from each other.

Rose also won the Tom Mason Award for her commitment to Nursing in the University’s Valedictory prizegiving awards. During the course of her studies, Rose also represented the University at a Chief Nursing Officer Conference.

Rose said the support and encouragement she received at the University gave her the skills and drive to succeed with the opportunity to join the SEG, helping to develop her “skills as a nurse and as an individual”.

She said: “I chose to study at the University of Chester is because this University stood out to me from other universities within my area. Their professionalism and dedication to supporting their student nurses gave me the confidence that they were the right choice for me. 

“Winning the Student Nursing Times Award for Outstanding Contributions to Student Affairs was one of my biggest achievements. The University, lecturers, students and most importantly, the Student Empowerment Group, supported me every step of the way and without all of this support, I would not have won the award. It opened the doors to so many other opportunities in my professional career and I am extremely humbled to have won.”

Rose is committed to helping other students on their Nursing journey and is still a member of the SEG even though she has recently graduated. She said: “One of the biggest challenges I had was learning to deal with emotional situations I had to face as a nurse. This inspired me to create my student empowerment project called Your First of Everything. This interactive tool enables staff and students to open up and talk about their experiences in practice to relate to one another, further highlighting the importance of supporting one another’s mental health. 

“My future plans are to continue to support students and staff in relation to their mental health and to continue to develop ways in which nurses can use their experiences to relate to one another. I will continue to develop my project, hopefully to introduce it into other universities and nationally for all nurses and students to use. 

“I would say to anyone thinking of studying Nursing at the University of Chester to just do it. If you want to be supported throughout your training, if you want to be shown best practice and get to have some fun whilst at university, this is the University for you. I have had an amazing experience whilst at the University and you can too.”

Amanda Clarke, Deputy Head of the Department of Acute Adult Care in the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care, said: “The Nursing programme is a demanding course, as students undertake full-time practical placements alongside completing their theory work. Rose’s constant enthusiasm for the student nurse experience, contributing so actively to a variety of extra-curricular activities, all of which pertain to student empowerment, is testament to Rose’s dedication to her chosen profession.”


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