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Rachael Lambe, 21, from Prescot, Knowsley and Ellen Soutter, 49, from Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, founded the Expanding End of Life Care Project (EEOLCP), with the aim of improving student resilience in the provision of end of life care.

The project was developed as part of their roles as Student Quality Ambassadors (SQAs) at the Warrington Campus of the University. SQAs are students who are studying a healthcare related qualification in the North West of England and are interested in raising standards of care, whilst developing personal leadership skills.

It has now been recognised with a national NHS FAB Award. The NHS Academy of Fabulous Stuff (FAB) is a social movement for sharing health and social care ideas, services and solutions that work. The FAB awards were held in London on Thursday, November 15, and reward and recognise people and teams bringing great innovation and best practice to the NHS. Ellen and Rachael won the Hartley Larkin Award, and were highly commended for their work identifying the point that many students feel out of depth around end of life care and that more training is needed.

The judges described the work as ‘the brainchild of two visionary nursing students to improve resilience in the provision of end of life care. It has been so successful and positively received that students from four other health education centres have joined to spread the project and support students. The future of nursing is undoubtably safe in the hands of Ellen Soutter and Rachael Lambe with their Expansion of the End of Life Care Project.’

Their latest project followed on from the End of Life Care Resource Project (EOLCRP) the students developed last year, comprising a survey and creation of teaching materials, which have since been integrated into the University’s pre-registration nursing curriculum from December 2017.

Ellen and Rachael were also nominated for a Student Nursing Times award for the project earlier this year.

Rachael said: “It was a privilege to be invited to the FAB Awards and an honour to be amongst such inspirational individuals. To receive an award far exceeded our expectations, and we are truly humbled for our work to be recognised for a national award.” 

Ellen added: “To be in the company of such inspirational people was fantastic. The energy and commitment to share good practice and ideas from everyone at the awards only serves to reinforce that the career we have chosen is definitely the right one. Receiving recognition for our passion is very humbling. I am looking forward to my career in our NHS!”

Julie Dulson, Associate Professor in Acute Adult Care at the University of Chester, said: “We are all extremely proud that Rachael and Ellen have been recognised with this national award. It proves that you can make a positive impact to healthcare provision, even while you are still a student. End of life care is a vital, but challenging topic for health professional students and the package developed by Ellen and Rachael will help to ensure the students gain the right support, knowledge and skills to enable them to care for patients and their families at such a difficult time.”

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