Milton Keynes College crowns aspiring nurse as Student of the Year

Group shot of all the winners of the individual awards.

A student with ambitions to become a paediatric nurse, Lucy Sharples, has been crowned Milton Keynes College’s Student of the Year for 2022.

Lucy was named the winner at the annual Students of the Year event held at Hotel La Tour in Milton Keynes last night (Thursday 9th June) and presented with her award by Tom Wraight, Regional Director, Midlands at Careys Construction.

Jan Jenkins, Lucy’s tutor who nominated Lucy for the award described her as “such an inspirational young woman” and someone who is “incredibly focused and… consistently pushes herself to achieve the best she can.”

“Apart from achieving exemplary grades for her studies, Lucy applied for and secured a place on the MK University Hospital Cadet Scheme where she received special individual recognition from the Chief Nurse. She was awarded the Chief Nurse Certificate after she was spotted giving particular care to a mental health patient on the hospital’s paediatric ward.  

"She spent the day with the patient who was waiting nervously for an appointment, sitting and talking to her about techniques which might help the patient and her dad.  The girl’s father was so happy to see his daughter engaging and laughing with Lucy that he emailed the hospital to express his gratitude for the difference she had made to the whole experience.

“With the difficulties in accessing a placement during lockdown Lucy was determined to try to secure some practical experience so she signed up and completed an online study programme, Care Professions Care Certificate through Bedford Hospital, to gain more skills and knowledge.  And, she did all this at the same time as volunteering at White Spires School, helping with children with special educational needs and disabilities, and holding down a part-time job.

“Lucy’s achievements are incredibly impressive as she’s had her own personal challenges to overcome. And she has even turned these difficult times into a positive, by teaching herself to knit and producing hats for premature babies in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”

On winning the award, Lucy said, “I feel a bit shocked, excited and very honoured. My course has been fantastic, I’ve had a great time in class with amazing teachers. I’ve also loved the placements and had the best experiences. The award I got from the hospital really surprised me, I didn’t think I did anything special but it turns out I made a big impact on someone’s life and on their family, it was pretty amazing.

“To be recognised as the overall Student of the Year by the College is incredible. I’m so grateful for all of the support I’ve had from everyone at the College, it’s given me the confidence to take the next step in my journey towards becoming a nurse. I’m very excited about the future.”

Dr Julie Mills OBE, CEO and Group Principal at Milton Keynes College Group said, “Lucy’s story is a wonderful example of the way so many of our students grab hold of every opportunity that comes their way. Like all tonight’s winners she is an inspiration for her peers. College is all about helping people build great futures for themselves, whoever they are and whatever their dreams. We’re proud to have been able to help her achieve so much.”

The reward for Lucy’s hard work beyond the award and recognition of the College is that she has now been offered a university place to study paediatric nursing.