University of Northampton student, Will McIlhiney, who will graduate this July after studying to become a Mental Health Nurse, is celebrating being shortlisted for a Student Nursing Times Award for Student of the Year.
This award celebrates the skills mental health student nurses develop during their university studies, both through academic involvement and the practical experience they gain while working with service users in their placement settings.
Will’s lecturers nominated him for his tireless efforts to break down barriers, and advocate greater levels of Mental Health Awareness for student nurses, and the student community more widely at the University of Northampton.
As well as for his exemplary interpersonal skills with service users and carers. The nomination cited Will’s consistent ability to adapt his communication style to meet the needs of a diverse range of service user’s groups, receiving positive feedback from those he has worked with.
Alongside this, Will has been a pioneering Mental Health nursing cohort representative, working tirelessly to try to promote the student voice; initially in his own cohort then taking this to other cohorts within the nursing disciplines, as well as launching the first Mental Health Awareness Day. Will was also the founder of the UON Nurses Society (NUNS), which brings together nursing students from all disciplines to debate, problem solve and celebrate all aspects of the nursing profession.
Will McIlhiney, a third-year nursing student from the University of Northampton, said: “Studying for any nursing degree has its challenges and I wanted to support my peers to stick with their studies, avoid dropping out, and make things better for student nurses of the future. Part of my work to do this, was to improve the feedback mechanisms with the University, which makes students feel more engaged, valued and supports them to build resilience and tackle challenging situations in a positive way.
“It has been a nice surprise to have been nominated, and shortlisted for this award. I’m humbled that the projects I’ve been involved in have made such an impact for those around me.”
The winner of the Student Mental Health Nurse of the Year award will be announced at a glittering nursing gala on 26 April. We’ve all got our fingers crossed for Will.
Find out more about our Mental Health Nursing course here.