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York nursing student one of health’s top innovators

Posted on 21 November 2013

A University of York nursing student has been named as one of the UK’s top 50 innovators in healthcare by the Health Services Journal.

Student nurse Louise Towse with NHS England’s Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings at the Healthcare Innovation Expo in London

As a second-year student, Louise Towse came up with the idea of making student nurses patients for the day, with students running the Clinical Simulation Unit in the Department of Health Sciences as a ward. Organised by the nursing society NurSoc, student nurses swopped uniforms for pyjamas to experience what it was like to be a patient first hand and to find ways of improving patient care.

On behalf of the Health Services Journal, a team of expert judges chose 50 people who they felt had taken innovative approaches that have made a tangible difference to patients, healthcare colleagues or wider society in 2013.

The panel included Jan Filochowski, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children Trust, Martin Marshall, Professor of Healthcare Improvement and Lead for Improvement Science London, at University College London, and Helen Bevan, NHS Improving Quality Delivery Team.

The judges said of Louise Towse: “She’s a second year student who’s doing really interesting things.”

The York NurSoc event was part of the national NHS Change Day call to action earlier this year. NHS Change Day organisers were so impressed by the York nursing students, they invited Louise Towse, Vice President of NurSoc and Alex Young, President of NurSoc, to the Healthcare Innovation Expo in London to meet NHS England’s Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings and other senior health officials.

My colleagues had a fantastic experience and this has inspired others to join in and make changes

Louise Towse

Louise said: “I was shocked when I was chosen - in fact it didn't even know I had been nominated - but I was delighted that I had been recognised for my efforts at trying to improve patient care. This is something that I intend to continue throughout my career. My colleagues had a fantastic experience and this has inspired others to join in and make changes. I am planning something involving the other medical disciplines for next year, I want to create an awareness of the importance of improving patient care.”

Alison Foster-Lill, Programme Leader for Pre-registration Nursing, from the Department of Health Sciences, said: “It is only through innovation in patient care that the NHS can adapt to the challenges it faces. It is therefore wonderful news that Louise’s contribution to NHS Change Day was recognised.

“Nurses and nursing are central to innovation within the NHS and at York we aim to empower our students to embrace change and become the nursing leaders of the future.’’

Louise’s meeting with Jane Cummings in London earlier this year resulted in the Chief Nursing Officer visiting York last month, when she performed the official opening of the University's newly extended and modernised Clinical Simulation Unit and delivered a lecture to staff and students.

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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