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RCN Scotland Nurse of the Year Awards 2022

Nursing Student of the Year

RCN Scotland Nurse of the Year Awards

Becoming a registered nurse/midwife is the culmination of years of study, hard work and dedication. Students must attain both clinical and academic competence in their chosen field of practice to graduate and secure their registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.


About the award

Open to pre-registration nursing and midwifery students in Scotland. This award aims to recognise those who have shown exceptional promise during their professional education and/or practice placement. Nominees for this award will deserve recognition for exceptional achievement during their studies. This could be academic performance, clinical skill, teamwork or outstanding patient care during clinical placement. 


Who can be nominated?

The nominee must be a student nurse or student midwife studying in Scotland at the time of nomination.


RCN Scotland Nurse of the Year Awards 2024

Our finalists for this award were:



Lois Gaffney

Former Student (Now working as Staff Nurse), The Open University

Described by her practice assessor as an inspirational role model, Lois studies nursing on her home island of Shetland through the Open University. She was inspired to become a nurse after working as a health care support worker. Showing initiative from the outset, when her assessor suggested learning atrial fibrillation on her next shift, she turned up having prepared a research piece detailing not only the workings and electrical activity of the heart but how to read an ECG. She was nominated for the Student Leadership Programme run by the Council of Deans, and now regularly supports other students virtually to change mind sets from ‘What if I fall?’ to ‘What if I fly?’. With a keen interest in neurology and recognising the limitations of opportunities on a small island, Lois applied for funding to travel to Glasgow for a placement and has already brought back her learning to her rural setting. Lois joined her NHS board Chief Executive to present a livestream on student nursing in remote and rural areas to encourage others to take up nursing as a career and has been supporting colleagues through her role on the Nurse Workforce Wellbeing Group of NES. Her aim is to connect students and create support hubs which look after both academic and emotional needs. Back on the ward, Lois is championing patient movement to reduce lengthy hospital stays and also recently produced a toolkit on respiratory care which is already being applauded as a valuable teaching resource for the whole team.

Lois Gaffney

Runner Up

Georgie McLachlan

Former Student (Now working as Community Psychiatric Nurse), Stirling University

Described by her practice learning supervisor as a dedicated student, while on placement at the Livilands Resource Centre in NHS Forth Valley, Georgie showed she can link theory with practice, already using her initiative to seek quality improvement opportunities to enhance patient care. Georgie has also been involved in a pilot for the First Episode Psychosis (FEP) Pathway, established in response to national government drivers for early intervention to promote improved prognosis for people whose first contact with services identifies risk of psychosis. Within this pilot Georgie participated in patient journeys, joining discussions within the multidisciplinary team to develop a formulation plan. As the main contact Georgie has led individual interactions with the patient, demonstrating holistic care with a full understanding of all aspects of a patient’s life. She has been able to identify a role for Behavioural Family Therapy and psychology, discuss this with the patient and their family, and then action referrals for these. Colleagues applaud her understanding of the changing role on the community psychiatric nurse in working with people with complex and enduring mental health problems and her pride in her chosen the career.

Georgie McLachlan

Highly Commended

Samuel Thomas

Former Student (Now working as OOH Community Nurse), University of the Highlands and Islands

Described by his lecturer as exceptional, Samuel studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands. He excels in theory as well critical thinking and research and is expected to pass his nursing degree with distinction. Samuel was accepted onto the Research Masters and secured funding for his project to explore community nurses’ lived experiences and perceptions of preparedness to provide palliative and end of life care in rural Scotland. Never one with a narrow focus, Samuel’s passion for equality and diversity in nursing is evident in his voluntary research into male attitudes towards nursing as a profession. His academic skills are already having an impact in clinical settings, exampled in his work to create a signposting directory which received funding to be able to print 800 copies for use across the hospital. With hopes for a long and prosperous nursing career, Samuel is already gaining visibility nationally, having had commentary pieces published in the British Medical Journal about the use of virtual reality in nurse education.

Samuel Thomas

Nominations have now closed and, following the judging process, our finalists have been chosen by our panels.

If you have any questions or queries regarding the awards, please get in touch by emailing

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Page last updated - 21/11/2023