Student nurse clinches prestigious award

Amber Fletcher (second left) picks up her award. Star media photo

Amber Fletcher has won the Student Nurse of the Year Mental Health category at the 2024 Student Nursing Times Awards.

She was one of several inspirational winners who were crowned in front of an 800 strong nursing community on Friday (26 April) at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London and one of three students from the University of Leicester’s Nursing with Leadership MSci who were shortlisted.

The awards celebrate the very best in nursing education and recognise those whose commitment and dedication shine through.

Following a rigorous judging process with an independent panel of judges, a delighted Amber won after standing out among an “incredibly strong field.”

The judges added: “Amber combines exceptional academic achievement and its application in practice to support her patients, demonstrating compassion and a commitment to valuing the human condition. What was especially impressive was her passion for mental health nursing and her understanding of its intrinsic value.” 

Amber is in the final year of the four-year course and poised to take up a mental health nursing role at Rampton High Security Hospital once she graduates. 

Her support for her fellow students and strong advocacy within both the University and NHS had already led to her receiving an award for best student academic representative for the entire College of Life Sciences. 

Amber was also the first student nurse from the University to successfully complete the highly competitive Council of Deans of Health 150 Leaders programme. 

She is currently working on a dissertation focused on prison mental health, with a desire to publish her findings, while her passion for mental health research also led her to source an opportunity as a NIHR intern at the University of Manchester over the summer months where she researched improving patients discharge from inpatient settings to the community.

Speaking after the ceremony Amber, 32, said: “I was really shocked to win because I was sure I didn't perform at my best as I was unwell on the day of the judges’ interview. 

“I guess it shows that while a person's 100% will look different every day, that core passion and investment will always shine through. I was quite emotional after they announced the award because it really meant a lot to me. I’ve had lovely responses from people I've met along the way from mental health settings, prisons and forensics and the 150 Leaders programme. It was great to see so many of them as finalists and winners; it really shows some fantastic people are heading into the relative professions.”

Professor Liz Jones, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education at the University congratulated Amber saying: “We’re thrilled to see Amber rewarded for her absolute commitment to her course and her caring profession. It’s clear she has a very bright future ahead of her and is thoroughly deserving. I’d also like to extend my congratulations to fellow students Farha Hajat and Jamie Percy-Roberts who were also shortlisted in other categories but narrowly missed out.” 

Steve Ford, Editor of Nursing Times, said: “The Student Nursing Times Awards hold a unique place in the nursing calendar, specifically setting out to recognise an outstanding group of students on their journey to becoming nurses and midwives.

“We celebrate students from all branches of the profession and from over the UK. Their innovation and achievements so early in their career already mark them out as sources of inspiration and rising stars for the future.” 

The full list of winners can be found by visiting the Student Nursing Times Awards website.