Nurse wins top award for excelling on university course

Tracy Morris with the Heath Award given to her by Northumbria University.

Tracy Morris with the Heath Award given to her by Northumbria University.

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A nurse from Wearside has been awarded a prestigious prize for excelling in her studies.

Tracy Morris, community staff nurse based at Grindon Lane Primary Care Centre in Sunderland, is a recipient of the Heath Award, presented annually to nursing and midwifery students graduating from Northumbria University, who have excelled in both practice and theory.

“It was an honour just to be considered and I certainly didn’t expect to win so it was lovely surprise.”

Tracy Morris

Employed by South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, she has followed in the footsteps of Adrian Anim, a community nurse in the trust’s learning disability service, who was handed the Heath Award in 2015.

Miss Morris, from Houghton, said: “It was an honour just to be considered and I certainly didn’t expect to win, so it was a lovely surprise.”

As a young girl she dreamt of becoming a nurse, but on leaving school she worked as a secretary and then in retail.

She was nearly 30 when she decided to fulfil her long-held ambition and enrolled at Shiney Row College to get the necessary qualifications to go on the adult nursing course at Northumbria University, which she began in 2012.

Within months of graduating in September last year, she landed her current job.

She added: “I am so glad I finally made it.

“I knew I wanted to be in community nursing, which gives you that extra time to spend with patients, and I love my job.”

Dr Bob Brown, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s executive director, nursing and patient safety, said: “I am delighted for Tracy, who obviously excelled in her studies and is now putting all the knowledge she gained to good use caring for her patients.”

The Heath Award is named in honour of South Shields-born George Yeoman Heath, the distinguished President of the College of Medicine and Professor of Surgery in Newcastle in the 19th century.

Upon his death in 1892, he bequeathed money to support a number of areas of healthcare in Newcastle, including an award for the best nurse in each year of training.

The first award was made in 1906.

It was discontinued in 1975 following reorganisation within the NHS but was re-established in 1993 and the eligibility now extends to all pre-registration nursing and midwifery students graduating in a particular academic year from Northumbria University.