An award-winning nursing student has spoken of her pride after mentoring young people at disadvantaged schools across Leeds during her studies.
Kimberley Guy swapped her scrubs for a gown when she graduated from the School of Healthcare this month.
During her degree, Kimberley, who now works in A&E at St James Hospital, Leeds, won a place on the Laidlaw Leadership and Research Programme which allowed her to offer mentorship to students in disadvantaged schools in the city, supporting them through their exams and talking them through higher education options.
It meant so much to be able to give back and share experiences and support.”
Kimberley says: “The Laidlaw scholarship opened up so many opportunities for me. I worked on a mental health research project, writing a literature review and eventually taking part in a poster presentation at Oxford University. In my second year ‘research in action’ I worked alongside a climate change charity in Mexico City.
“I also got the opportunity to mentor young people from disadvantaged schools around Leeds, supporting them through GCSEs and encouraging them to look into higher education.
“When I was younger, I didn’t realise the opportunities that were available at university. It meant so much to be able to pass this on to other students, to give back and share experiences and support.”
Her outstanding work in supporting others was recognised with a LUU Partnerships Award, a Faculty Award for mentorship, and she was shortlisted at the Student Nursing Times Awards, alongside fellow nursing student Rachael Blackmore.
Rachael, now working as a nurse in the neurology department at the Leeds General Infirmary, was shortlisted for an outstanding contribution to student experience award.
As a nursing student under pressure through the COVID pandemic, she wanted to offer support to fellow students so revived the Nursing Society. In her role as president she raised money for charities, offered information sessions for first year students and boosted morale among her cohort by organising social, wellbeing and sporting events.
Rachael says: “I was in my first year when COVID hit. We were a year divided by the pandemic, and it emphasised nursing as a very tough course. We had to learn practical skills over Teams calls. Our placements were during the pandemic, and we were thrown into it as brand new starting nursers, so we really felt the COVID experience.
“I felt it was really important to offer that support to each other. As a student nurse I knew how hard the course had been, and I wanted to offer support to really reach others - and also to celebrate our achievements.”
Helen Convey, Director of Student Education, School of Healthcare, said: “These students have embraced opportunities for learning and development throughout their nurse education, including mentoring and supporting others.
“Seeking opportunities, thinking critically, fostering relationships, and enabling others to develop are important skills for nursing. We are proud to have been part of their journey from nursing student to registered nurse, and we wish them every success in their nursing careers.”
For further information, please email corporate communications officer Becky Pascoe on email@example.com