May Chen, Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing, has been awarded a prestigious RCN Foundation Impact Award, in recognition of the positive influence her research has had upon the wellbeing of student nurses.

The awards recognise excellence in nursing throughout the UK, celebrating the exceptional work of healthcare professionals and support workers.

The inspirational winners had all received RCN Foundation education grants that supported them to enhance their practice and create an outstanding contribution to patient care in the UK.

May, who has been announced as the RCN Foundation Amin Abdullah Impact Award Winner for 2024, received £1000 towards a study investigating the effect of a multi-dimensional intervention programme on nursing students’ wellbeing, confidence, and engagement.

A nurse’s health and wellbeing can directly influence their interactions with patients and the quality of care they provide, as well as have important implications for the future healthcare workforce.

May’s research into student wellbeing and especially supporting them during the critical phase as they transition from being a nursing student to a newly registered nurse will prove essential in the current context of workforce recruitment and retention.

Her project has improved the wellbeing of the participating nursing students, helping them to gain practical tools, theories, skills, and ideas, which are transferrable to their nursing careers, ultimately benefiting patients under their care too.

May said: “As an early career researcher, this project enabled me to develop professionally in the research domain.

“I worked for over 20 years in clinical practice, but I wanted to pursue a career in academia; to conduct research and inspire the next generation of nurses to learn. With patients demonstrating more complex needs and increasing staff pressures there is the potential for that to impact on patient care. My research aims to transform individual nursing students into confident and compassionate individuals who positively influence both their patients and colleagues. Unless their own health and wellbeing are promoted, they will have limited capacity to take care of patients.”

A participant in the project said: “The programme helped me to compartmentalise my life. The stress level just plummeted, and I was able to focus more.”

The findings from this work will be disseminated across the University’s School of Nursing and Faculty of Medicine, Health and Social care, supporting future developments in student wellbeing.

For May, the experience of running the project provided many professional benefits. She said: “I gained remarkable insights from participants’ experiences and reflections, as well as from the process of conducting this large project, which has broadened my research knowledge and skills. Without this funding it would not have been possible for this extensive research project to take place at all. I am really, really grateful for receiving a grant from the RCN Foundation and for the opportunity and experience it has given me, but especially for the future support we have been able to give nurses.”

Find out more about the FCN Foundation and their current open education grants.

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