sophie kneeling by a star with her name on it- sophie howells
Sophie's name was put on a star on the carpet at the award's ceremony in london Credit: Georgi Edwards

A woman from Cwmbran was commended as an ‘inspiring nurse to learn from’ as she collected a national award for her work.

Sophie Howells was nominated by a student she supported through her work in mental health with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. She was invited to the Student Nursing Times Awards ceremony in London on a shortlist of ten nurses from across the UK.

The award was for her work as a community psychiatric nurse in the Newport area. She now works as a nurse in the early intervention service supporting people with the first signs of psychosis.

She told Cwmbran Life: “I would work with clients with different mental health problems, monitoring their mental health, administering medication and give advice and support for clients.

“I love the variety of the job, every day is different and you get an insight into someone’s life that not many people will ever experience. People don’t tend to openly talk about their struggles, and I get not only to have people feel comfortable discussing it with me but I’m able to see the benefits of my support on their lives. 

“I was nominated by a previous student Georgi Edwards, who I was practice supervisor for within the Newport community mental health team. Georgi was emailed to inform her I had made the finals and she was then able to share this with me directly before it went live online on the Student Nursing Times Award website, a week or so later.

“I then had to attend the London headquarters in March for an interview and then the winner was announced on the night of the awards.

“The award I was nominated for was ‘Practice Supervisor of the Year’. I am a qualified mental health nurse and within my role as a community psychiatric nurse, we are also required to train and support student nurses during placements. So this was one of only few award of the night specifically for a qualified nurse. The rest of the awards were for student nurses.”

Sophie (centre) collects her Practice Supervisor of the Year award
Sophie (centre) collects her Practice Supervisor of the Year award Credit: Student Nursing Times Awards 2024

Sophie is unequivocally the most exceptional supervisor I have ever had the privilege to work with. Her thoughtful and compassionate approach was evident from the beginning of placement, always prioritising my well-being and learning.

What distinguished Sophie for me was her unwavering commitment to making me feel an integral part of the team. Her kind approach to patients is truly commendable and inspiring to witness. Beyond being an inspiring nurse to learn from, Sophie made my placement enjoyable and fun. Sophie possesses a remarkable ability to bring out the best in people, and her infectious positivity truly shines through!

Georgi Edwards’ nomination for Sophie

Sophie said the atmosphere at the Marriott Grosvenor House in London was “amazing” and she was sat on a table with two students from Cardiff who were also finalists.

“My award was the sixth to be announced. I’d gone into the experience being ecstatic to be nominated and then a finalist so did not expect to win. I was speechless when my name was called, which if you know me is a shock in itself!

“My colleagues have been so supportive and so many have said how they knew I was going to win it. It’s been lovely to hear so many lovely comments.”

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