Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) is celebrating today as student nurse Solomon Jones has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award for his work in diversity and inclusion. The Student Nursing Times Awards are the only national awards for student nurses and nurse education, and is run by the well-established and long-running Nursing Times publication.
The Mary Seacole Award for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion recognises an exceptional student who has made a significant contribution to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for their patients and/or other students and staff. Solomon Jones is a community health care assistant and student nurse, and was entered for this award in part due to his work as NHFT’s Chair of the LGBTQ+ Staff Network. He has also held administrative roles in the Trust as well as the role of a healthcare assistant and an infection prevention link nurse role with the District Nursing team and in local care homes. To be shortlisted alongside other colleagues from across the country is a great achievement.
Solomon said, “I am just at the beginning of my career in the NHS, however, I am so proud to have already had the opportunity to experience such a diverse range of patient needs and services and to have been able to have a significant impact on ensuring NHFT is an inclusive and accepting space for its staff.
“The roles I have held have exposed me to the needs of a particularly elderly and vulnerable patient group from varied backgrounds, who may not always have the ability to advocate for themselves. One example of this is when I worked with the care team to provide a more diverse menu for patients who weren’t from the UK, to enable them to have food provision that was more familiar to them and their cultures. Likewise, as a gay man I take great pride in the work that I do for the NHFT LGBTQ+ staff network, which has included working with the Trust to recently gain the Stonewall accreditation.”
NHFT’s Chief Nurse, Julie Shepherd, said, “Solomon is a real example of someone who lives our Trust’s mission; making a difference for you, with you. This is not only evident in the service he provides his patients, but also in how he works with and on behalf of staff as the LGBTQ+ staff network chair, and a member of the Freedom to Speak Up champions network. His work in these roles goes a long way towards ensuring our diverse staff feel safe, supported and empowered at work, and these things in turn enable us to deliver safe and high quality care to our patients and service users.”
The Student Nursing Times Awards ceremony will be held on 24th April in London, when the winner of the award will be announced.