Abigail Stapleton


Abigail Stapleton, RN

Northampton General Hospital
Northampton, NTH
United Kingdom
In all my liaisons with Abigail and her mentors, there have been many stories of how she has impacted the lives of patients (and caretakers) by her attention to their issues and not her own.

I was Abi’s Practice Tutor during stage 2 of her nursing degree.  Abi has many skills, above all she is a compassionate caretaker.  Her ability to observe needs and then implement nursing care that is based upon a good knowledge base is very evident.

Her reflections on her care demonstrate a maturity that is impressive.  The ability to reflect upon care given is a skill that is central to good nursing care.  It demonstrates the ability to learn from practice situations. Abi was able to use theory to inform practice as well as using practice to identify the need for additional knowledge.  She constantly questions her practice, and this will ensure that she will always give a high standard of care.

Abi has excellent feedback from both service users and colleagues.  She is very much a team player and is aware of the stresses that her colleagues are facing and considers how she might help to alleviate these.  She is unaware of the impact her intellect has on her practice. Abi demonstrates that she can use the knowledge she is gaining as part of her nursing degree in her practice.  She does this naturally and with humility, being aware that those she is working with have a greater knowledge base that she is striving to emulate.

Abi demonstrates that she has the ideal attributes that are necessary for a nurse.  Nursing is now a graduate entry profession and Abi exhibits the reasons why this level of education is so important.  The care she gives is always considered and with the service user’s interests at the center.  She will use her knowledge to care in an informed way and that is how we should all want care to be.


I have known Abigail (Abi) since she commenced her pre-registration nursing degree program in 2014 and have been her practice teacher for the first stage (year 1) of the program and the third stage (years 3 & 4). In this role I have supported her and her various mentors in nursing practice across a wide range of clinical areas in order that she could expand her knowledge and skills. Using the DAISY criteria, the following comments are what I consider to be the excellent qualities that she displays for consideration of this award:

C – Connection with individual situations (empathy)

Abi has consistently been seen to demonstrate an empathetic approach to caring for all the patients (and relatives) that she has encountered in her journey as a student nurse and this has had an impact on her HCA role – giving her an enhanced capacity to care for individuals in a wide range of clinical situations. In my view, her own experience of caring for a terminally ill, close relative enabled patients within her care to feel that she was able to completely understand their issues (health and otherwise) and provide appropriate care and advice accordingly.

O – Open and trustworthy

There has never been any instance that I have seen where Abi has not shown herself to be open and trustworthy. As she has progressed through the nursing degree program, she has developed her knowledge and skills and has displayed her qualities as a true leader and role model for other students to follow. This has not gone unnoticed by her colleagues in the workplace who have valued her skills and knowledge, and ability to act in an autonomous way, enabling her competency as a highly valued member of the nursing team to be acknowledged.

M – Made a difference during their stay

For this criterion, I reflect upon an occasion where I visited Abigail in clinical practice in a community setting where she was gaining experience with a district nurse. At the time, Abi was experiencing many personal issues, being a sole caretaker at home, and yet was able to put these to one side in her duties in practice as a student. She was seen by the nursing colleagues to be wholly reliable and a key member of the community nursing team. She was able to schedule the daily care needs of the patients for herself and the team. This included organizing the workload, often before they arrived for duty themselves, and through this she was able to demonstrate how her experience and knowledge could be used to maximize clinical efficiency for each member of the team and the patients they were caring for at the time.

I felt that all the colleagues valued her as a member of the community practice team and that she made a difference to how they all worked together. This was something that became only too clear when Abi’s mother died just before Christmas and she needed to take some time out for her own grieving. At this point the entire team worked to ensure that she was able to complete all the program requirements around this difficult personal time that she was experiencing.

P – Passion for providing best possible care

In all the years that I have worked with Abi and her mentors, I’ve constantly received feedback that says she goes out of her way to ensure patients (and caretakers/visitors) receive the best possible care. My formal visits that are undertaken with her various mentors are always treated with respect for the importance of what they signify (essentially an agreement and ratification of her practical progression through the nursing degree program). She will always ensure that time is set aside for the mentor and myself to sit together with her and complete the portfolio work, without interruption. Evidence is neatly provided within the portfolio and each of her mentors are asked to sign that it has been read and agreed in advance of each meeting so that it is clear she has demonstrated achievement of the required competencies. Abi is a highly organized student. I have no doubt that, as we reach the final months of the program, she will be able to arrange the final meeting with her sign off mentor and myself where she will be deemed fit for registered practice having achieved all the competencies at the required level.

A – Above and beyond normal practice

I have already mentioned Abi’s personal issues and do not feel that I need to repeat these at this stage. However, Abi has consistently shown that she can give all those within her care the best possible patient experience whatever their circumstances (regardless of what was occurring in her personal life). Abi is always the one student to see a whole patient journey complete before she considers the number of hours she was contributing.

S – Selflessness

Abi is a true professional and has always displayed the qualities of selflessness, regardless of any personal issues. A most amazing selfless professional nurse.

S – Serves as an exemplary role model

All the qualities mentioned above have proven that Abi is an exemplary role model. The Open University Nursing Degree program allows student nurses to use their home base (where they are employed as HCA as well as a student) for most of their practice. Because of this, Abi has been able to appreciate that others look to her for guidance in developing their own skills and knowledge. Consequently, and in my view, she is a true role model for nursing practice.

I – Inclusive in all interventions

I refer here, to the formal meetings that are required to be held for the modules. There needs to be a meeting between both Abi’s mentor, her practice teacher (me) and herself. Abi has always ensured that these have taken place without interruption and thus have been successfully expedited. I am aware, through these meetings, that this is the way in which Abi works with all those that fall within her care and am very proud to be able to have been a part of her learning journey, where she has been able to display these vital qualities for patient care.

O – OMG the story creates a feeling of pride, tears or goosebumps

For me, I have seen two sides of Abi – the side of how professional she is in her practice, and her personal side. She keeps the two apart and does not allow either side to get in her way. This is quite an amazing capacity for someone who is ‘learning the job’. In all my liaisons with her and her mentors, there have been many stories of how she has impacted the lives of patients (and caretakers) by her attention to their issues and not her own.

N – Nothing is too much trouble

It is my belief that all the above shows, in her professional role as a student nurse, nothing is too much trouble. She demonstrates this in all that she does – both in practice and outside.

My reference point is always that for my own personal care and if ever I was to be incapacitated to such an extent that I needed care from a professional nurse and encountered Abi, I would be completely reassured that I would receive the best care that could be provided and would trust her judgement implicitly.