UCLan graduate beats tough competition to win British Education Award

7 February 2018

Children’s nurse Tanya rewarded for volunteering work

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduate has won the British Education Award, Degree Category (England, zone one), against tough competition from other university graduates.

Tanya Marlow, a children’s nursing graduate, was nominated for the award by her former lecturer, Karen Blake, due to her tireless charity work and volunteering, as well as the dedication she gave to her studies.

 “It was such a surprise to be nominated by UCLan for the award,” Tanya said. “It was lovely that they thought of me as a worthy candidate and made me feel really appreciated and proud.”

During her studies, Tanya dedicated countless hours of her spare time to helping others. This included being the course representative, a student ambassador and a sexual health and guidance volunteer, attending weekly extracurricular meetings to help design and develop a support network for students at the University around the area of sexual health.

The award-winning graduate attained her bronze, silver and gold volunteering awards as well as a ‘highly commended’ award for clocking up more than 110 volunteering hours for the Students’ Union.

In addition to this, Tanya developed a teaching session for other student nurses regarding the insertion of Naso Gastric tubes in children. She felt this was a fundamental skill of nursing that caused many students anxiety on placement. She also demonstrated and taught this skill to junior doctors, who may not have had the opportunity to observe it being carried out in practice beforehand.

"I was excited to be invited to the awards ceremony as one of three finalist in my category. I had some tough competition and I never expected to win."

Speaking of receiving the award, Tanya said: “I was excited to be invited to the awards ceremony as one of three finalist in my category. I had some tough competition and I never expected to win. On stage, when I was announced as the winner, I was very shocked! It felt amazing and I was so happy to take home a certificate and trophy naming me the Degree Student of the Year.”

Tanya currently works as a Children’s Staff Nurse at the Royal Preston Hospital, something which she loves and is passionate about. She said: “In the future, I would love to one day become a university lecturer myself, teaching children’s nursing.”

During her studies, Tanya self-funded an international placement to Sri Lanka to experience healthcare in a developing country, as well as a trip to Kenya to raise awareness around Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). She also visited schools and nurseries in Lancashire facilitating “Teddy Bear Clinics” with the aim of reducing anxiety in children regarding interactions with Health Professionals. This will allow the children to be more confident about accessing health services as teenagers and young adults.

Despite all of Tanya’s hard work helping others, she still managed to excel in her own right, achieving a First Class Honours degree in 2016. Her amazing grades, and award that followed, hasn’t changed Tanya’s outlook on volunteering and kindness. She said: “I will continue to volunteer as much as possible and try to make a difference by working with my colleagues of tomorrow and influence positive changes in children’s nursing.”