Dr Sonya Clarke, Senior Lecturer of Education within Children’s Nursing from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast has been awarded the prestigious Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Award of Merit for 2020.
Dr Clarke was one of four members across the UK to receive this prestigious award which is the highest honour the RCN can bestow for voluntary service to those who have gone above and beyond to support fellow members.
Dr Clarke’s relationship with the RCN dates back to 1988 where she attended as a student nurse and more recently within her roles in the professional forum, the Society of Orthopedic and Trauma Nursing (SOTN) and children’s nursing.
Dr Clarke was surprised and delighted to receive the award. She commented: “I am extremely honoured to have been chosen by the Royal College of Nursing for this prestigious award.
“My aim as a nurse is to make a difference to people’s lives and educate, support and help my fellow nurses.”
Dr Mary Drozd, Course Leader MSc Advanced Clinical Practice at the University of Wolverhampton and one of Dr Clarke’s nominators, said: “The work Sonya has done for the RCN and the greater nursing voice, has been exceptional – showing real leadership and commitment. Sonya exhibits a true passion for children’s nursing.
“She deserves this recognition for her transformational leadership skills, unfailing commitment and inspirational work at a national level, which aimed to benefit patients with musculoskeletal conditions and injuries through the education and upskilling of practitioners in this specialist field.”
At present, Dr Clarke has been selected to lead an innovative pre-registration graduate entry Master’s (GEMS) programme at Queen’s University for children and young people’s nursing, which will commence in September 2020.
Dr Clarke added: “I am very excited to lead this new MSc - which will equip high calibre students with the knowledge and skills to play a key role in the future of children and young people’s nursing.
“Entering the workforce with an MSc adds value to our profession and will enable these registrants to make a positive difference to our society.”