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Sam Richmond Nursing Scholarship

Information for medical professionals.

In 2014 the Network set up an annual Nursing Scholarship, named in memory of the late Dr Sam Richmond, who worked as a Consultant Neonatologist at Sunderland Royal Hospital for many years.

The idea of the Scholarship is simple – to encourage innovation and new ideas amongst our nursing staff. It is worth £1000 and the winner(s) also receive a trophy that Liz Richmond (Sam’s widow) had designed and commissioned especially by the Sunderland Glass Centre. There have been 5 winners of the Scholarship to date;

2014 – Lucy Mann & Charlie Pearson, 2 Staff Nurses from the NICU at James Cook University Hospital (“Increasing the effectiveness of neonatal nursing handovers at the NICU cot side”).

2015 – Emily Cameron, Sister from the NICU at Sunderland (“Debriefing following Neonatal Death”).

2016 – “PEAPOD” (Parental Early Attachment in Promoting Optimal Development) team from the NICU at the RVI, Newcastle (“Promoting skin to skin contact – the neonatal unit and beyond”).

2017 – RVI Bereavement Team (Memory making in end of life care – include siblings to offer complete family centred care)

Building on the success of previous Scholarships, applications were again opened up in late 2018 and this time, there were two winning entries that shared the prize as the Network judging panel were unable to split them! The two joint winners were;

Matt Cray (“SCBU Dad’s Team – Regional/National Development”)

RVI Family Integrated Care Team (“Be Kind To Your Mind”)

Set up at the RVI, the SCBU “Dads Team” was established in December 2017 by Matt Cray, following a comprehensive literature search and qualitative data via a questionnaire distributed to dads on the NICU at the RVI.  The Team was established following both compelling research and 12 respondents all indicating that a support team for dads would be beneficial. The Team runs monthly and meets on the unit, and facilitates bringing dads who have had babies previously on the unit together with dads currently on the unit to support each other. It has proven to be a very successful venture and Matt is now looking to take things further, by supporting facilitation training for dads both within the Unit at the RVI and also the wider Northern Neonatal Network and then if the pilot study goes well, hopefully further afield throughout the UK. Matt is looking to identify key dads within the Network, connected with each neonatal unit, who would be willing to trained, as SCBU Dads team facilitator. The trained SCBU Dads team facilitators will be linked together via email, to support and network with each other; this hopefully will enable these teams to run effectively and not in isolation. Once the facilitation process has commenced, using the facilitation training experience of the family initiative, the effectiveness of the training will be qualitatively analysed through two questionnaires.

The RVI Family Integrated care Team, led by Senior Sister Karen Matthison submitted a proposal to provide supporting families in recognising and maintaining their own mental ‘well’ health during their time in the NICU. It focuses on the team providing a range of initially 3 main activities to improve the mental health and wellbeing of parents in the NICU – craft sessions, music therapy and mindfulness colouring in order to reduce stress/anxiety. Using focus groups then a means of monitoring the impact and effects of each, the project will assess how well they meet the broad aims and in due course, hopefully then rolling out the same model of facilitating suitable distraction therapies elsewhere in the Network.  

Martyn Boyd, Manager of the Northern Neonatal Network said “Sam was passionate about nursing education research and a well-known figure in the delivery of new born life support (NLS) courses across the world. We set up the annual scholarship to encourage innovation and news ways of working that could improve neonatal care among nurses working across our neonatal units. We once again had some excellent entries for the Award we ran in late 2018 and the judges were unable to split two winning entries so we decided to simply name them joint winners!

As always, we will look forward to following the progress of both Matt and Karen and her team as their projects progress. Part of this will include them both giving a presentation at our 10th annual Network Conference in November.  We hope that in time, both projects could be taken on and adopted by other baby units across our own network and beyond as they are both transferrable proposals that bring real benefits to those dads caring for their babies and also by way of improving mental health of all families.”


Our Joint winners for 2018-19 receiving their Award (Back row, standing left – right): Ken Bremner ;” (CEO, South Tyneside & Sunderland & host Sponsor of the Northern Neonatal Network), Liz Richmond, Lynne Paterson (Nurse Lead, Northern Neonatal Network), (Front row, seated left – right): Matt Cray & Karen Matthison.

Applications for the next annual Scholarship are now open – closing date is 1st October, more details via the links below!


About the Sam Richmond Scholarship…

Introduced in 2014, the Northern Neonatal Network set up the annual Sam Richmond Scholarship in honour and memory of the late Dr Sam Richmond, the Scholarship is designed to foster and encourage a spirit of innovation amongst the nursing staff across the baby units within the Network. Sam was a consultant neonatologist who worked at the Sunderland Royal Hospital for many years and somebody who was very passionate about nursing education research and was a key and well-known figure in the delivery of New born Life Support (NLS) courses across the world.


The Scholarship of £1000 is awarded annually to the nurse who submits the best proposal for an innovative idea that can enhance and improve neonatal care. This may be a piece of research, a new way of working, an audit or a piece of equipment that could have benefits across the Network and beyond. Written proposals need to be submitted and a panel will then shortlist entries and pick a winner, overseen by senior Network officers.

Full details of the Scholarship and how to apply and what to include can found here. A set of FAQ has also been drafted to help answer any questions applicants may have and this can be found here.

Further help and guidance can be obtained by contacting;

Lynne Paterson (Network Nurse Lead) – or on 01642 854871 


Martyn Boyd (Network Manager) – or on 0191 541 0139

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