Anglia Ruskin student scoops national accolade

Published: 28 April 2011 at 12:14

Joanne Tonkin wins the RCN Fellows Student Nurse Award

Anglia Ruskin University student Joanne Tonkin has won the coveted RCN Fellows Student Nurse Award for 2011.

The 24-year-old received her award, plus a £1,000 cash prize, at a ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London on Thursday 28 April.

Originally from Eight Ash Green and Brightlingsea in Essex, Joanne is in the final year of a three-year DipHE in Adult Nursing at Anglia Ruskin’s Fulbourn campus, near Cambridge.

Anglia Ruskin’s Adult Nursing Programme Leader, Pam Lee, said:

“This is a truly fantastic achievement for Joanne, a highly motivated and very caring student nurse who deserves the recognition this award brings. 

“Joanne did really well to be nominated for this award let alone win it; from spending time with her you can see she will make a great nurse.” 

Joanne had been shortlisted for the award for her reflection of her first experience of being a student nurse in 2005 in which, while on a placement, a qualified colleague made a serious medication error.

She spoke out about what she saw and, thanks to her intervention, the nurse in question was eventually removed from the register following an investigation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.  However, the incident dented Joanne’s confidence and she left her studies shortly afterwards.

Joanne said:

“Not only did the staff nurse give the wrong drug to the wrong patient, but when she realised, she told the patient not to speak about the event.

“I was angry that the patient concerned had approached her death mired in legal controversy when she should have been with her family.”

The RCN Fellows Student Nurse Award is sponsored by the Nursing Standard, and its editor in chief, Jean Gray, said:

“Joanne has demonstrated remarkable courage in returning to her nursing studies. Her story serves as an inspiration to other nursing students.”