Sam Palmer, Student Nursing Times Student Nurse of the Year: Children Nominee

The Student Nursing Times Awards 2023 celebrate the very best in Nursing and Midwifery education by recognising and rewarding brilliant students and educational establishments. Sam Palmer discusses her nomination and being shortlisted in the Student Nurse of the Year: Children category.

How did you feel when you received your nomination?

I think I was a little overwhelmed to be honest. The past 3 years has been tough on everyone, and all the students having to start HE in the midst of a pandemic deserve recognition for making it through! I am happy to be representing all of those students who have become a unique community.

What does the nomination mean to you?

It validates my passion for my peers and nursing as a profession. It recognises that throughout such a challenging learning period there are people who fight to maintain community and a supportive network.

Why have you been nominated?

I was nominated because I speak up and out. My nominators believe that I advocate and lead in ways that promote student experience and role modelling in children’s nursing.

Why did you decide to start your journey to becoming a nurse?

It’s not quite the why, but the when, my core is built from a fire that gives me passion to want to help those around me.  I have worked in healthcare for 12 years, excluding my time outs for travelling and volunteering. For me further education seemed unobtainable, I never have considered that I could be academic enough to succeed at this level. Through some extraordinary experiences in Nepal, El Salvador and Guatemala, I realised that my biggest passion is with supporting children and their families to have the best outcomes. Specifically neonatal care. Global health inequity and inequality drives me to become the best I can be and share that passion everywhere I go.  

Then the pandemic hit and put a halt to the one way ticket - New Zealand travel plans - leaving me to consider what was next for me. After very little consideration I decided to take a chance on myself. I filled out the application for UCAS and took the dive – the worst anyone could say was no, and if it was a yes and I would be faced with doing the thing I always wanted to do, but never thought I could. Fast forward nearly 3 years and I am one exam and my final placement away from living my dreams and becoming a nurse.

I pinch myself for getting this far, and am extremely proud of accomplishing and living the life that I have always wanted.

What would you like to do in your future career as a nurse?

I would like to repay the people and places in this world that initiated the true depth of my children/neonatal nursing passion. I would like to use my nursing skills to help improve global health standards and encourage global health equality and equity! Working with refugees and those who do not have the same access to quality healthcare.

My future career focuses on neonatal nursing and supporting families with their sick babies. I would like to be involved in supporting and researching how we can create better health outcomes globally for our youngest of our species.

What advice do you have for others thinking about becoming a nurse?

It is hard, it is a grueling academic slog of 3 sometimes 4 years to become a nurse. This is because it is a professional role and should be understood as a profession. However, if you are already considering becoming a nurse, follow that passion – latch on to the reasons you want to do it and embody that. It will help you remember the necessity of gaining the education needed to be a safe and effective practitioner. We all have moments in our life where we will seek the help of others, nursing is being that help when it’s needed for everyone who may need it. And what a beautiful thing that is.

How has LSBU supported you during your studies here?

LSBU has created a learning experience that has had to evolve and develop during the pandemic. The DCN have provided quality learning to us, and the individual lecturers always offered support through being visible and on hand whenever I needed it.

Why would you recommend your course at LSBU to others?

I would recommend the Children’s Nursing course at LSBU because its educators are people that really care about the fundamentals of nursing – they want everyone to succeed. The lecturers are also trying to innovate the syllabus, they are all leaders in there own fields and are pushing what inclusivity means in Higher education. The course itself links students to a host trust, so you will have unique training throughout the 3 years.


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