A trauma nursing student has paid tribute to healthcare workers after scooping a top industry accolade.

Corporal Isaac Bekoe, in his third year at Birmingham City University, was given the Student Nurse of the Year: Adult award at a virtual ceremony.

Hailed as ‘special, humble and inspiring’ by a panel of top education and healthcare figures including previous winners, the 37-year-old from Chippenham said the experience of his father’s premature passing away a decade ago provided the motivation to embark on a career in nursing.

“One reason which led to my father’s death was said to be the delay in seeking medical treatment. Due to the lack of skillset I felt I could not determine that his health was deteriorating early enough for me to seek urgent medical intervention for him. This fuelled my passion to take up a career in nursing to acquire the right knowledge and skillset to offer the care that I could not give to my father, to others in need.

“I am humbled and honoured to be awarded the Adult Nursing Student of the year. However, I believe the hard work and dedication displayed by my fellow colleagues who were nominated, makes us all winners.”

The Student Nursing Times Awards recognizes achievements in areas such as educator of the year, partnership and placement of the year, outstanding contribution to diversity and inclusion and student of the year in all the main nursing disciplines.

Birmingham City University was nominated in seven of the 21 categories in the 2020 awards.

Isaac, who is currently balancing his studies with his work at the Joint Hospital Group South East with responsibilities as father and a husband, will graduate with an undergraduate degree in Adult Nursing in 2021.

In planning to complete a master’s degree and gain further practical experience to be able to teach nursing at a university level.

“This would be my way of paying it forward in terms of passing on valuable knowledge and skills to the next generation of nursing professionals.

‘During my time at Birmingham City University I was acquiring comprehensive theoretical knowledge and skills then having the opportunity to participate in placements that put that theory to practice. Training and working with diverse individuals were also a plus, as I learnt something new every day about the human experience that helped me to be even more compassionate and dedicated to the profession.

Professor Carol Doyle, Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery at Birmingham City University said, “I am so proud of everything Isaac has achieved whilst he has been an adult nursing student here at the University and the award of Student Nursing Times Adult nursing student of the year 2020 comes richly deserved.

“Isaac has been involved with many projects within the school helping to set up the cultural ambassador scheme and being a student mentor for the first year Nursing Practice Module. He leads from the front as a role model and is someone to aspire too but was described by the judging panel as a student who is humble and unassuming but has a major impact on those he comes into contact with.”

This year has been particularly challenging for the healthcare community, including student nurses who, in many instances, stepped up to support the practicing healthcare professionals on the front line of the NHS’ battle during the Covid-19 pandemic. Isaac plans to use the platform that the Student Nurse of the Year Award offers, to share words of support to his fellow student nurses.

“I encourage nursing students to practice teamwork. This is one of the best ways to get through these unprecedented times. Pursuing nursing is rigorous and challenging as is, with the pandemic added to the mix, this makes for increased familial hardships and in some cases, mental instability. Not much can be achieved in the field of nursing with decreased mental acuity. It is therefore important to work together and form support groups that will give everyone a fair chance of persevering and overcoming.”