Student nurse wins award for ‘outstanding’ compassion

A student nurse who demonstrated “outstanding” caring skills while working with prisoners and drug addicts during a placement has been recognised with an award from his university. Simon Hunter, who graduated from Edinburgh Napier University yesterday, has been named this year’s winner of the Simon Pullin Award, which marks compassionate care in nursing and midwifery. During his training, Mr Hunter took part in clinical placements at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and HMP Edinburgh. While at the hospital he was inspired by a mentor who struck up a rapport with a long-term drug user on a respiratory ward, and the sincere manner in which the nurse approached the task. “It was this experience that led me to question my own judgements and values, and inspired me to explore the kind of nursing that would challenge me to show compassion to those patients who have perhaps historically felt none,” said Mr Hunter. Following this he took part in a four-week placement with the prison service, in which he learned the importance of compassion and withholding judgement. “Just as the lifelong smoker with terminal lung cancer or the obese patient with diabetes do not need their choices condemned at the bedside, neither does the drug addict or convicted sex offender need their history overshadowing their care requirements or clouding the practice of those charged with delivering them,” he said. The Simon Pullin Award provides recipients with £250 and was set up by the university in memory of senior nurse Simon Pullin who played a key role in the university’s compassionate care programme up until his death from cancer in 2011.