This year’s winners of Veterinary Nursing Educator of the Year Awards announced.
Two exceptional veterinary nursing educators have been awarded for their hard work and dedication at this year’s Veterinary Nursing Educator of the Year Awards, organised by Central Qualifications (CQ).
Helen Clarke of Myerscough College and Nicola Newman of Plumpton College were announced as the winners by Martin Barrow, CQ chair of governors, at the CQ Graduation and Awards Ceremony at Central Hall, Westminster on Saturday, 3 June 2023.
The annual awards celebrate the commitment and hard work of staff who support veterinary nursing students, recognising their talent, skill, and dedication. They are open to anyone involved in training and educating veterinary nurses in the UK, with the winners nominated by students and fellow professionals.
Helen Clarke qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 1985 and worked for almost 20 years in mixed and small animal practice. After initially combining her practice work with part-time teaching at Myerscough College, she moved into teaching full-time. She’s been part of the veterinary nursing team at the college for nearly 20 years, helping generations of nurses complete their courses.
Those nominating Helen praised her as “one of the loveliest tutors you could ever wish to teach you” who goes “above and beyond to ensure we all understand the lessons she’s teaching no matter how difficult they are.” Her “amazing teaching style keeps student engaged” and she is “very supportive and understanding of students’ different learnings methods and mental health.”
In response to receiving the award, Helen said: “Interacting with the students on their journey to qualification, and feeling that you may have played some small part in their success, is a privilege. I very much appreciate the fact some have taken the time and trouble to write such lovely comments and am really touched to receive this award.”
Nicola Newman began working as a registered veterinary nurse at a mixed animal and equine practice in 2002, progressing through various roles, including head nurse and working in practice management. She supported veterinary nursing students as an A1 assessor and mentored newly qualified veterinary nurses. In 2019, she left veterinary practice to start a new job as a lecturer in veterinary nursing at Plumpton College. Since 2021, she has worked as a programme manager, supporting students both academically and with personal and employment issues.
The students and colleagues nominating Nicola described her as “a beacon of light and kindness” whose “vast fountain of knowledge is beyond incredible.” She “makes you feel like she is your equal and helps get the best out of everyone.”
After winning the award, Nicola said: “It is an honour to have received such an important award, and to be recognised for my work and support provided to my students. The veterinary profession is a challenging and fast-paced profession which is ever changing. Students need to be armed with the knowledge and skills to be an advocate for their patients’ health and welfare. They also need to be prepared with the tools to prioritise and look after their own wellbeing, as well as that of their patients and their owners.
“I enjoy every part of my role, and seeing students achieve their goals is the most satisfying gift any educator can hope for knowing that they have played a part in that achievement.”
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