A Nursing student from Ormskirk has been nominated for a prestigious national award. Tony Carson, a Trainee Nursing Associate at Edge Hill University and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital, has been shortlisted for Trainee of the Year at the 2019 Student Nursing Times Awards, which take place the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 26 April. He is one of eight nominees in all from the University, represented across five categories. “It is a great honour to be a finalist” admits Tony. “My trust is very proud of me.” Put forward for nomination by tutor Deborah Mayne-Semple, his Student Quality Ambassadorial work and advocacy for his profession were key factors for the panel. A healthcare assistant for 15 years, specialising mainly in surgery and orthopaedics, Tony admits he hadn’t always dreamed of joining the profession. “Nursing was an accident”, he said. “I was a chef in a nursing home and the manager asked me to do an extra shift; when I arrived, the shift was as a carer not a chef – and that’s how it began!” Tony came to Edge Hill University having been seconded from his Trust. He is part of the first intake, with the course being offered for the first time in 2017. His approach to care prompted wider recognition last year. “A patient wrote to the Chief Executive of the hospital expressing his gratitude for my care, and the Trust asked if they could send it to the local press.” An ambassador for Nursing Associates, he is revelling in the new role which offers him greater responsibility. “There is a misunderstanding of the role, so I travel to universities and hospitals advocating and explaining what it entails. The idea is for the position to bridge the gap between the nurse and care assistants, to improve patient care.” Tony has spoken twice to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which he found easier than delivering his presentation at the NW Student Quality Ambassador Development Event. “The RCN have a working knowledge of what a Trainee Nursing Associate (TNA) is, whereas most people I speak to have not. “I also present at Edge Hill to new TNA’s, I have spoken to the senior staff at Whiston Hospital, at Chester University, and to the board of directors at my Trust. I will speak to anyone who wants to know about the course. “The underlying content has to be varied as people have different expectations of what’s on offer, and what knowledge they already have depicts what I have to tell them.” Personal highlights from his time at Edge Hill University include seeing Dementia campaigner Tommy Whitelaw speak on campus. “Working in the Major Trauma unit at Aintree Hospital was also very educating, while working with the health visitors in Southport taught me much about the things that go on in the community.” Post-graduation, Tony hopes to become a quality ambassador for his own trust, to support other TNA’s in their training as well as continuing his advocacy work.