University of Stirling triumphs at Student Nursing Times Awards

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Alison Hackett (centre), Programme Director of the MSc Early Years Practice (Health Visiting), collects the Student Nursing Times Award for Nurse Education Provider of the Year (Post-registration).

Staff and students from the University of Stirling are celebrating after receiving major recognition at the Student Nursing Times Awards.

The University's MSc Early Years Practice (Health Visiting) programme triumphed in the Nurse Education Provider of the Year (Post-registration) category – which recognises outstanding institutions that offer courses to develop the leadership, management and clinical skills of qualified nurses. Winners must demonstrate excellence in a number of areas including: educational environment, university staff, teaching methods and resources, emotional and practical support, and professionalism.

Alison Hackett, Programme Director of the MSc Early Years Practice (Health Visiting), said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this award as our team is passionate about health visiting practice and it provides recognition of the quality of our programme, excellent partnership working, and the dedication of our students past and present.

“I also want to thank the Faculty for Health Sciences and Sport, here at the University of Stirling, for their support and the wider university community. This award also helps to raise the profile of the crucial role of the health visitor in supporting and promoting the health and wellbeing of children.”


Health visitors play a vital role in supporting children and families during the first five years of a child's life. The programme prepares students to build relationships with families, and provides them with the knowledge and skills required to assess the needs of children and families and support them, using a person-centred approach. The University works closely with health boards, practitioners, students, and a wider multidisciplinary team to design and deliver the programme.

Reflecting the hard work of both students and staff over the past year and a half, the University also had finalists in four other categories: Nicola Phillips and Alexandra Parker were both shortlisted for Most Inspirational Student Nurse of the Year; Ms Phillips was also nominated for Student Nurse of the Year: Adult and Ms Parker for Student Nurse of the Year: Mental Health; while the BSc (Honours) Nursing was up for Nurse Education Provider of the Year (Pre-registration).

Dr Ashley Shepherd, Associate Professor and Head of Health Sciences at the University of Stirling, said: “I am delighted that our MSc Early Years Practice (Health Visiting) has been honoured with this national award from the Nursing Times. We have an excellent reputation for the quality of teaching on this programme, which recruits registered nurses and midwives from across Scotland.

“Our lecturers work closely with our NHS partners to ensure that students receive the best evidence-based learning experience – and the health visiting role is more important than ever, working in the community to provide a proactive and universal service to families and young children. They also provide parents with advice so they can give children the best possible start in life.

“Many congratulations to those involved in this programme – both the teaching team and our students – and to our staff and students shortlisted in other categories.”

The Awards – marking their 10-year anniversary – were held at Grosvenor House Hotel, London, on Thursday 4 November.


Editor of Nursing Times, Steve Ford, said: “Congratulations to all our winners at the Student Nursing Times Awards 2021. The awards recognise a group of outstanding students on their journey to entering the nursing profession, as well as all those who support them along the way, including lecturers, universities and healthcare providers.

“Given the ongoing difficulties facing the education sector due to the pandemic, I was really impressed by the strength of entries that we received for the awards this year. Many featured learning innovations and outstanding students that reflect the challenges created by COVID-19, and that saw usual learning processes disrupted and nearly 30,000 students doing paid placements to help out on the front line.

“Our awards recognise students from all over the UK and at different stages of the nursing education journey, from first years to those who have recently qualified. Their innovation and achievements so early in their career already mark them out as sources of inspiration and rising stars for the future.

“Meanwhile, the many higher education institutions and placement providers represented on the shortlist demonstrate the constant evolution and development in the way the next generation of nurses are educated, equipping them to deal with the challenges they will face and to provide the best care possible.”

The University of Stirling’s nursing programmes are ranked top five in Scotland (Complete University Guide 2022) and are approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. The MSc Early Years Practice (Health Visiting) has an 86% student satisfaction rating in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2021.

For more information on the programmes available at the University of Stirling, visit our nursing webpages or register for our next virtual postgraduate open day, on Wednesday 17 November, 2021 (2pm - 4pm).