Open University Apprentice Nurse, Solomon Jones, has been nominated for the Mary Seacole Award within the Student Nursing Times 2020 awards, taking place this week. Solomon has been working as a Healthcare Assistant at Northamptonshire NHS Foundation Trust (NNHSFT) since 2017. He was nominated for the award by colleagues Carla Renton (Communications Officer) and Julie Shepherd (Chief Nurse) in recognition of his work in the role of LGBTQ+ Staff Network Co-Lead.
Named in honour of the British-Jamaican nurse who nursed many soldiers back to health during the Crimean War, the Mary Seacole Award is given to a student nurse who has made an outstanding contribution to diversity and inclusion. They will have helped to create a supportive and inclusive environment for their patients and/or other students and staff, and shown compassion and understanding of the needs of those from diverse backgrounds, as well as demonstrating commitment and creativity to ensuring inclusion.
Solomon began studying for The Open University’s Nursing Degree in 2018 and was subsequently recruited as an OU Nurse Apprentice, continuing with study sponsored by his employer. This year Solomon was assigned to work on one of the COVID wards as NNHSFT quickly adapted to introduce measures to care for COVID patients and keep staff and other patients safe. He has also been given specific PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) training and taken on the role of PPE Safety Officer.
Solomon says “I was completely overwhelmed by the nomination and to be shortlisted is an honour in itself. We have many have equality laws that govern our society, however, there is still a lot of work to be done before our diverse population is truly equal and equitable. Mary Seacole was a compassionate and brave woman, influencing change in her time. Whilst she lived in a society that was very difficult for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, it didn’t stop her! I aspire to be like Mary Seacole and whether I win the award or not, I will continue to influence change in everything I do, and question anything that isn’t right. We are forever making changes but are by no means close to the end.”
Find out more
To find out more about the different routes into nursing via an Open University qualification, visit this page.