Orla Mathews and Barry Magee, two nursing students with the OU in Ireland, were awarded at the Nurse of the Year event at the Culloden Hotel, Belfast, on 14 June 2012, to highlight the excellence within nursing in Northern Ireland.
Orla and Barry were nominated for the award in recognition of their research into the patient experience of young people with mental health problems in acute and mental health services. Inspired by their own experiences of caring for young people and realising a need for an examination into how nurses respond to young people with mental health problems, Orla and Barry, through their extensive six-month research project, were able to define key skills and knowledge that will enable practitioners to better meet the needs of this patient group.
Their nominator said: "Orla and Barry have demonstrated exceptional practice, knowledge and enthusiasm in caring for patients, especially those young, vulnerable individuals who are increasing in numbers."
They are continuing their research in the voluntary mental health setting and through their participation in the Guiding Light research project, aimed at finding ways to meet the holistic needs of service users.
John D’Arcy, the Director of the OU in Ireland, said: "This award is a fantastic achievement for our student nurses, Orla and Barry, and speaks volumes about the quality of students at the Open University in Ireland".
Pictured from left to right are Linda Johnston, Barry Magee, Orla Matthews and Janice Smyth.