A Teesside midwife currently working alongside NHS colleagues during the coronavirus crisis has been shortlisted for a national nursing award.
Former science teacher Alison Anderson, who changed career direction to become a midwife, graduated from Teesside University’s BSc (Hons) Midwifery with First Class honours in November last year.
She has now been shortlisted as Student Midwife of the Year in the Student Nursing Times Awards 2020.
Mum-of-four Alison, 40, said: “My time at Teesside University changed my life. I was a secondary school science teacher for 13 years when I chose to follow a calling to study midwifery.
“I wanted my children to see that if you were not happy with something in your life you can change it.”
Now working as a midwife in the maternity unit at James Cook University Hospital, Alison is one of the many members of NHS staff across the country who are continuing to work in unprecedented times.
Alison said: “It has been so encouraging to see everyone pull together at this time to support each other and cover shifts, whilst still providing seamless quality care to women.”
On her change of career path which led her to become a midwife, Alison said: “I chose to study at Teesside as I was impressed by the friendliness and approachability of the midwifery staff when I came to visit the University.
“During my studies I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed all aspects of my course, even completing the many assignments.”
For her elective placement during the degree, Alison travelled to Tanzania to complete a placement in a small rural hospital, with her husband and children travelling with her.
Alison said: “I spent five weeks in Tanzania. Three weeks travelling with my family and two weeks on placement while my children attended a Tanzanian school.
“My time in the small Tanzanian hospital was eye opening. The midwives worked tirelessly with very few resources. As there were no pain relief options, I saw immense strength and belief from all the women in labour.”
She added: “I also particularly enjoyed my time as a student spent on the committee for the Midwifery Society, especially when we won Society of the Year. I also gained a lot from my time as School Rep in my third year.”
During her degree, Alison completed her placement at Darlington Memorial Hospital, adding: “I thoroughly enjoyed working with all the staff in maternity at the hospital and at my community placement in the South Durham team.”
Alison started work at James Cook University Hospital immediately after graduating. She said: “The staff have all been really welcoming, supportive and encouraging.”
She added: “When I found out that I had been nominated for the Student Nursing Times Award I couldn’t believe it and didn’t think I’d even get shortlisted, so I am really delighted to have come this far.
“I am proud to be able to represent Teesside University, Darlington Memorial Hospital and The James Cook University Hospital at the awards as the only Northern candidate in this category.”
She added about her time at Teesside: “I met some amazing girls in the midwifery cohort. We couldn’t have achieved what we have if it wasn’t for our mutual support of each other.”
Her studies also led her to co-write a journal article for The Practising Midwife and to join the organising committee for the annual Virtual International Day of the Midwife.
She added: “I would not be realising my dream to practice as a midwife and hopefully making a difference to women in their pregnancy, labour and postnatal period if it wasn’t for the time spent at and opportunities gained whilst studying at Teesside University. I owe Teesside University a massive thank you for this opportunity.”
Teesside University has also been shortlisted as Nursing Associate Training Programme Provider of the Year and with County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust for Student Placement of the Year: Community.
Dr Kevin Thomas, Associate Dean, School of Health & Life Sciences, said: “We are really proud to see Alison receive this well-deserved recognition and we wish her well with her midwifery career, having started on that journey with us.
“The additional nomination for the University is testament to the hard work and dedication of the team who inspire the nurses of the future and our excellent partnerships working with our service colleagues.”
Matthew Van Loo, principal lecturer in the School of Health & Life Sciences, added: “The FdSc Nursing Associate course is inclusive for all and aspires to empower each individual student to reach their full potential. The course recognises the challenges of entering higher education for the first time, and dedicates the first module to developing study skills and exploring professionalism.”
The awards are due to be announced in November. Find out more about the awards and the shortlisted nominees www.studentawards.nursingtimes.net/shortlist