Award for team’s dedication to supporting students

Providing the nurses of tomorrow with a solid start to their NHS career has earned the team working in one of the Great Western Hospital’s busiest departments a prestigious award.

Dove Unit, a specialist cancer ward at the Swindon hospital, has been named as Placement of the Year by Oxford Brookes University at its annual award ceremony, which was held on Tuesday 27 June.

A chance to highlight the placements and learning environments that make a real difference to Oxford Brookes’ nurses-in-training, the awards saw more than 89 different clinical areas from across the region compete for one of the coveted Placement of the Year titles.

Dove Unit, which was one of eight wards at the Great Western Hospital to be nominated this year, picked up the top prize in the Adult Nursing category.

Sharon Northwood, Senior Sister on Dove Unit, said: “Everybody working in Dove Unit is absolutely delighted to have won this award and the fact the nomination came from the students we have worked with so closely over the last year makes it even more special.

“We all remember what it was like to be a student and how valuable it was for our own development to learn from people with so much experience of caring for others, which is why our team put so much effort into helping students find their way in this extremely rewarding area of healthcare.

“It’s a privilege for us to be involved in shaping a person’s career and we look forward to working with the students of Oxford Brookes for many more years to come.”

All nominations for the awards were submitted by people who have spent the last year applying what they have learnt in the classroom to real life situations in hospitals across London, the Thames Valley and the South West.

Nominated placements were then judged by a panel of industry experts against a number of different criteria such as quality of care, learning opportunities and student support.

It is now three years in a row that Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has had success at the awards.

In 2016, the team in GWH’s Intensive Care Unit received high commendation by the judging panel for their work with students, which came a year after the hospital’s Acute Cardiac Unit came home with its ownPlacement of the Year winners’ medal.

Each year, more than 85 per cent of graduating nurses from Oxford Brookes University, which recently opened a dedicated nursing campus in West Swindon, begin their NHS career at the Marlborough Road hospital.

For more information about training to become a nurse, visit