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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

University student nurse wins prestigious prize

Published: 22 February 2013
Winner Caroline Edmunds

A former police officer who dramatically changed professions to become a nursing student at the University of Southampton has won a prestigious scholarship award run by a national nursing charity.

Caroline Edmunds, from Winchester, Hampshire, who spent 13 years in the police force, was judged the winner of the Community Award category in the 2012/13 Cavell Nurses' Trust Scholarship Awards.

She is now making travel plans after winning a travel scholarship to the value of £1,500.

Caroline was one of 22 candidates who had been shortlisted for the five awards.

Interviews were carried out by a judging panel made up of experienced nursing and midwifery individuals in London on 8 February, which coincided with her 40th birthday.

She will now be presented with her prize during an awards ceremony at Fishmongers Hall, London, on 21 March.

Caroline is currently in the second year of a four year dual field adult and mental health nursing degree at the University of Southampton. The mature student, who is mum to three children, aged 19, 17 and six, said: "I have been a police officer for 13 years but decided I wanted to be one of the people helping those I encountered in a different way.

"For a lot of my police career I was in child protection and wanted to be a nurse in that situation, not a police officer.

"I am more interested in caring for the person, not prosecuting the person. I just feel my strength lies in caring."

Caroline added: "I was absolutely amazed just to be shortlisted so I was so surprised to learn I'd won. I probably won't stop telling people about it for years.

"I am going to seek advice from my tutors as what to do with the scholarship because I am doing a dual degree and trying to decide where I can go where I can apply both sets of skills, or just one."

Caroline added that she began her studies at Southampton in September 2011 at the same time that her eldest son also began university. "It's not easy to say the least juggling everything but I love it!"

Cavell Nurses' Trust, set up in memory of World War 1 nurse Edith Cavell following her execution in 1915, launched the Scholarship Awards last year with the aim of recognising exceptional student nurses and midwives in the UK.

The awards are designed to help nursing and midwifery students at the start of their careers and are open to students currently studying nursing or midwifery on undergraduate/postgraduate or diploma courses at universities in the UK.

Judges praised the quality of shortlisted candidates.

Susan Simmons, a former director of nursing who is now an independent healthcare advisor and consultant, said: "The standard of candidates was very impressive and almost all of them made comments that were really grounded in practice, such as basic care and compassion. It was a very hard decision for the judges."

Fran Galloway, a senior lecturer in midwifery with more than 30 years clinical midwifery experience, said: "All the candidates were committed to providing excellence in their particular fields of nursing and midwifery.

"However, the winners and runners up stood out through demonstrating a particular commitment to providing care and compassion in the areas in which they are working.

"They have all made a real difference and show the ability to be the leaders of the profession as they move to qualification and registration."

Further information about the Scholarship Awards can be found by visiting the awards website at

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