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Lecturer Barry Hill with nursing student Florence Pobee
Lecturer Barry Hill with nursing student Florence Pobee

Press release -

Northumbria University shortlisted for four top nursing awards.

Outstanding staff and inspirational students from Northumbria University have been shortlisted for four prestigious national awards by the Student Nursing Times.

The University has been shortlisted for the national Nurse Education Provider of the Year (post-registration) title, after winning the same award three years running between 2012 and 2014, while lecturer Barry Hill has been shortlisted in the Educator of the Year category. Adult Nursing student Florence Pobee, who has been described by her tutors and fellow students as “a true inspiration to others”, has been shortlisted in the Most Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year category and Student Midwife Kerrie Page has been shortlisted in the Student Midwife of the Year category.

Senior Lecturer in Adult Nursing, Barry Hill, is no stranger to accolades after recently winning the Best Lecturer Award internally at Northumbria, as voted by the University’s nursing students. He has been described by his peers as “a breath of fresh air” in the department and his passion for nursing is demonstrated in his teaching.

“I feel honoured to be nominated for this award,” said Barry. “I have always tried to be as dynamic as I can in the classroom and inclusive. Most importantly, I just want my students to have the best experience possible.”

Kenyan-born Florence Pobee is a second year student nurse who started the Adult Nursing degree in 2017 after overcoming numerous obstacles in her life. Despite this, Florence has been described by her tutors as having “a thirst for life” and is a positive role model in class, as well as an exemplary student who achieves excellent grades.

Speaking about her nomination, Florence said: “It is the best thing to ever happen to me in my life. Caring for patients is my passion. Being a nurse and looking after patients is what I always wanted to do since I was a little girl. I love caring and making little differences in people’s lives. It goes a long way.”

Student Midwife, Kerrie, who lives in Bensham, Gateshead, has been shortlisted to receive the Student Midwife of the Year Award as a result of her passion for development and excellence of care for women accessing maternity services.

“I am feeling very overwhelmed to be even considered for this award,” she said. “Midwifery is a vocation that I hold in high regard. I want to be a midwife who is proactive in taking every opportunity to promote health, to support women achieve optimal birth outcomes and who embraces the model of midwifery care.”

The Student Nursing Times Awards are the only national awards to celebrate the very best student nurses and nurse education providers in the country. They recognise and reward institutions and individuals who are committed to developing new nursing talent, as well as student nurses who demonstrate the academic achievement, clinical skills and personal qualities that will make exceptional nurses.

Joanne Atkinson, Northumbria’s Associate Head of Department, Nursing Midwifery and Health, said: “We have been shortlisted for the Nurse Education Provider of the Year Award because of our diverse offer. We are well respected and have won this award three years in a row in previous years. We have a strong reputation nationally for nursing education, partnership working with health trusts and developing a workforce that is fit for purpose in a landscape that is ever changing in the NHS.”

Northumbria’s nursing programmes were the first in the country to be accredited by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and are ranked 22nd in the UK in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.

The awards will be held in London on Friday 26 April.

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For more information, please contact Ruth Lognonne, PR & Media Coordinator,

on 0191 227 4590 or email

Nursing Times: Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year (Shortlisted)

Case Study: Florence Wandia Pobee

Florence Pobee has overcome much adversity in her life to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse.

At the age of 16, whilst living in the family home in Kenya, she cared for her terminally ill aunt without any real professional help. When her aunt tragically died in her arms, that moment inspired Florence to become a nurse.

“Being a nurse and looking after patients is what I have always wanted to do since I was a little girl,” said Florence. “Caring for patients is my passion and it just comes naturally.”

As a girl growing up in rural Kenya, Florence, looked after her siblings at a very early age while picking coffee and working on a farm. But an Irish priest saw her potential and at the age of 10 encouraged Florence to attend school, where she soon developed a love for learning. The same priest told her the story of Florence Nightingale in church and she was compelled to take this as her Christian name. She was supported by the priest to gain secretarial skills after he bought her a typewriter and Florence went on to become a secretary.

Florence moved to London in 2006 with her husband. After gaining secretarial work in a hospital she knew that she wanted to work in health care and she moved into a health care assistant role, which she did both in London and then the North East.

A moment spent caring for an elderly lady in a nursing home has stayed with Florence to this day and sums up her vocation as a nurse.

Florence had taken the time to offer therapeutic holistic care for a lady who was over 100-years-old. “She then looked into my eyes, held my hand and told me that she wished every nurse was like me. Her last words to me were ‘never ever change who you are because the world needs caring people like you’. She died that night, but I cherish the time I spent with her,” she said.

The moment and sentiment are still at the centre of everything Florence hopes to achieve as a nurse and her nomination by her mentors, peers and patients for the Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year Award and being shortlisted by the Nursing Times are testament to that.

Florence lives in Gateshead with her husband Ebenezer, a support teacher at Kenton School, Newcastle, and their daughter Roswita, 10, who attends St Aidan’s Church of England Primary School in Gateshead. She is in her second year of a BSc Adult Nursing Degree at Northumbria University.

“My family and friends are all very proud and very excited. The hardest part has been juggling university work, placements and my family. But the University has been flexible towards my circumstances. I have inspired some of my friends especially from minority groups who have now enrolled for access courses to university. All I would say to other people who might be thinking of doing this, "follow your dreams.”



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