Shropshire based Mental Health Nurse Practitioner shortlisted for National Student Nursing Times Award page thumbnail

The annual Student Nursing Times Awards celebrate the best of student nurses, highlighting excellence in all specialties.

Shortlisted for the Learner of the Year: Post-registration Award, is MSc Advanced Clinical Practice student, Simon Fraher. Simon is a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Physical Health Lead, working across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

Simon was nominated for the award by Staffordshire University, on the grounds that he “has excelled on the course and the nomination recognises his ability to put evidence-based theory from his studies into practice, including leading a successful new service to help monitor patients with mental health illness.”

Simon’s studies lead him to recognise weaknesses in service provision for his patients. He developed and delivered an innovative Nurse-led Physical Health Pathway for patients with serious mental illness (SMI). The Pathway allows patients with a diagnosis of SMI, such as Bipolar, Schizophrenia and non-organic psychosis who are prescribed antipsychotic or mood stabilising medication, the opportunity to discuss their physical health care needs.

Simon oversaw the establishment of Physical Health Pathway clinics across Shrewsbury, Telford and Wrekin where SMI patients can discuss issues such as healthy eating, weight management, increasing physical activity, emotional wellbeing, pregnancy, family lifestyle and smoking cessation. The clinics also provide an educational environment for mental health colleagues and students to obtain new skills in physical health care.

The model has had a profound impact on the care of patients with SMI who have fed back that the pathway clinics are “very proactive, it’s not just the role being good – it’s the way it’s done…I’ve never felt so supported by mental health services.”

Simon said: “I’m thrilled to have been nominated and shortlisted for this prestigious award. I’m so pleased that my studies have led to us being able to make a real difference to people’s lives. The partnership between primary and secondary mental health services that the pathway promotes ensures that we are better able to meet both the physical and mental health needs of patients with SMI.

“I’d like to thank MPFT for supporting me to undertake the MSc Advanced Clinical Practice and those who contributed towards the development of the pathway. The support from senior management and contribution from pathway leads and colleagues ensured that a very unique service was created, led by nurses to improve the health and wellbeing of our service users.”

Simon’s work has also been recognised with an NHS Parliamentary Award and an MPFT Gold Award for Quality Improvement.

The awards ceremony will take place in London on 28 April.