Home > News > Hooray for Heather

A huge well done and congratulations to Heather Tilmouth who is celebrating two huge achievements!

Heather, who joined St Oswald’s Children and Young Adults Unit in 2009 as a nursery nurse has not only successfully completed her Nurse Associate Apprenticeship but was also awarded ‘A Rising Star’ Award at a recent celebratory event in York. Heather was one of only four people to win an award out of 200 nominations!

Heather tells us more:

“From being very young I always wanted to be a nurse but I listened to my teachers and ended up working in a bank. At the age of 22 this was still my dream so I enrolled to start my training but I then fell pregnant so had to pull out. After starting a family we couldn’t afford for me to give up work so my dream was put on hold.

“I joined St Oswald’s Hospice as a Nursery Nurse, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but when the Trainee Nurse Associate role was introduced I thought it’s now or never for me to fulfil my ambition and do my nurse training. The course took two years and was led by Teesside University. As the majority of training has taken place during Covid-19 it’s been a little different than I initially thought, all of my sessions have been online, apart from two, but I’ve still been able to do five placements. Before this I’ve never written academically in my life, and I’m now in my 50’s, so this is most definitely my biggest achievement, other than bringing up my wonderful family. If I can do it, anyone can! It’s been lots of hard work but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.”

Heather has excelled in all of her projects but was still shocked to hear her name read out at the awards ceremony earlier this month, where she was recognised for her hard work, enthusiasm and dedication over the last two years. Heather added: “I didn’t expect to win the award, so much so I’d left my acceptance speech notes in my handbag. I’m so grateful to Diane and my course leader for nominating me and I’m really proud of myself for everything I’ve achieved.”

Diane Nicholson (Sister, Children and Young Adults said):

“Heather has demonstrated such commitment and passion to the role of Nurse Associate. Usually when a new type of role is introduced there can be resistance, but Heather has been such an advocate to her up and coming new role and position that it has not left anyone in any doubt as to the worth of the nursing associate role. You just have to listen, watch and absorb; Heather is amazing and has set the bar high. Throughout her learning, Heather's enthusiasm for learning and her role knows no bounds; we as a team have been impressed by her efforts and her rewards (always attaining high marks in her project work).”

When Heather was asked about what the future holds, she said:

“The Nurse Associate role is still relatively new and I’m the first fully qualified one to complete my training at the Hospice, so I’m looking forward to growing into the role. I could do a two year top up to become a Registered Nurse and although my heart is telling me to go for it my head is saying no at the moment. Maybe in a year or two I’ll be ready to take the next step and follow my heart but for now I’m going to enjoy my new role.”

“The team at St Oswald’s Hospice have been so supportive, helpful and encouraging. I’m so grateful for that.”

Congratulations again to Heather, we’re all so proud of what you’ve achieved and wish you lots of luck.