Most Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year

Gary Cutmore has won the ‘Most Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year’ award at the Student Nursing Times Awards 2019. Gary is a student on the Foundation Healthcare Practice (nursing associate) course and is also clinically deaf.

The Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, run jointly by St George's and Kingston University, also won Nursing Associate Training Programme Provider of the year and Teaching Innovation of the Year at the prestigious annual awards.

Below we chat to Garyabout his nomination, his time at St George’s and how he utilised the support services on offer here.

Why were you nominated for a Student Nursing Times award? 

Staff at Royal Star and Garter care home (where I did my four-week work placement) informed me that most of the staff at Royal Star and Garter wanted to nominate me for the award because I had inspired them by working so hard and learning so much while I worked there. I felt honoured as I was their first deaf nursing associate student and they were impressed by my hard work.

When did you find out you had been nominated for the award? How did you feel? 

I found out via email from one of the staff at the Royal Star and Garter care home. I couldn’t believe it because, for me, I was simply doing my job as a nursing associate student, learning and getting on with my role in caring for residents. I really felt like my hard work was being recognised.

  More generally, how have you found studying the Foundation degree in Healthcare Practice? 

I enjoyed the course even though it was challenging to juggle working full-time, balancing studying the course at University with work placements. It was frustrating at times but this made me determined to work harder to achieve becoming a qualified nurse in the end. I am thankful that I have full-access to university to study the course with the aid of my British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters, note taking and supportive lecturers. All the students in the class are nice and caring hence I felt like I fitted in and this enabled me to continue learning and enjoy the course without any barriers.

What support services did you use during your studies at St George’s?  

St George’s has always been happy to provide note-takers for me which has proven invaluable. They have always been accommodating of my need to use BSL interpreters too. I have also been offered one-to-one support when I have needed it, this proved hard for me to be able to find time for but it was good to know this had been offered to me.

Would you recommend other students utilise St George’s support services? 

British Sign Language Interpreters help me to fully access information in lectures and group work. Also, they have helped me to deliver information by voicing over when I have presented in BSL. Note takers have enabled me to be able to revise what I have watched in lectures and seminars – remember, I cannot watch my interpreters and take notes at the same time. It is nice to feel confident and comfortable sitting in lectures, knowing what is happening rather than being lost and struggling to lip-read those around me.

What were your emotions when you won?  

I was delighted and lost for the words when my name and photo appeared on the display, and I was called onto the stage for my award. At same time I was really happy and proud to win; it proves that I’m doing well in my role, and providing inspiration to colleagues and students. I will endeavour to live up to this award of being the inspirational student of the year. 

Were you expecting it? 

I did not expect to win because I recognise everybody’s work hard, and see inspiration in all of their individual ways, but it is nice to know that I too inspired people that I currently work with. It’s wonderful that my work is recognised. I’m touched with the people who have nominated me for this award and seeing everybody congratulate me when I won was nice. I truly believe everyone works as hard as me. 

Gary receives specific support from student services to help him thrive at St George’s. To find out more about the support services offered by the university that may help you, please click here