Canterbury Christ Church University and East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust will honour the memory of Margate nurse Aimee O’Rourke and Ashford nurse Adekunle Enitan by awarding two new nursing bursaries.
The awards, funded by the Trust, will give extra support to students through their nursing programme studies at the University.
The Aimee O‘Rourke Bursary, awarded to Caroline Rogers, recognises the achievement and dedication towards nursing shown by Aimee during her career.
Aimee studied as a mature student at Christ Church and later nursed at the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust at the QEQM in Margate. Sadly, Aimee became one of the first healthcare professionals to die of Covid-19 in April 2020.
Aimee, who was just 39, died in QEQM hospital’s Critical Care Unit on April 2 after contracting coronavirus. The Margate mum left behind daughters, Megan, Mollie and Maddie.
She was described by colleagues as “a kind and caring nurse” who had “ a really special relationship with her patients and colleagues.”
The second bursary, awarded to Leonora Cinco, is in recognition of the success and dedication shown by Adekunle Enitan to his work as a nurse in intensive care at William Harvey Hospital.
Adekunle died after contracting Covid-19 at the end of April 2020 and the bursary will be for students from a BAME background.
Professor Debra Towse, Dean of Medicine, Health and Social Care, said: “Aimee, one of our recent nursing graduates, loved her profession and was dedicated to her patients.
“We are thankful to have known her as a student and we are immensely proud to announce the bursary awards in honour of Aimee and Adekunle.
“Adekunle was known for his commitment to the team and to his patients, and was an experienced and respected nurse.
“Our nurses are critical to the nation’s health and wellbeing and we will support them through their training and journey into what, for many, will be a lifelong passion and career.
“The demands of contemporary healthcare in this country have changed and will continue to do so. This directly influences our programmes at the University, to help us remain at the cutting edge of nursing education.”
Susan Acott, chief executive of East Kent Hospitals, said the Trust was delighted to fund the bursary in memory of Aimee and Adekunle.
She said: “Aimee and Adekunle were much-loved members of our Trust family and I know they are still greatly missed by their many friends and colleagues at our hospitals.
“These bursaries are another way for us to honour their memory and to inspire the nurses of the future to follow in their footsteps.
“Aimee was always willing to go above and beyond for her patients and team, and we are honoured she was able to fulfil her dream of working as a nurse within our Trust.
“Adekunle was a key member of the intensive care team, who would come in on his days off to help develop a garden for the unit.
“I look forward to meeting the recipients of these bursaries and watching them develop the skills and professionalism that made Aimee and Adekunle so valued by their colleagues and patients.”
The total award for each bursary is £2,500 per year for a maximum period of three years of study and applicants needed to meet the full criteria to apply.
It’s so important to honour the memories of these two nurses who died because they were caring for others. Their deaths are tragic and might even have been prevented with better protection. But to award two bursaries – bursaries that were available to all nurses just a few years ago seems rather paltry. Just two trainee nurses will get help, when previously it was available to all. No wonder we are so short of nurses in the UK.