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Sam Richmond Scholarship

Information for health care 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).

2018/19 – 2 joint winners! Matt Cray (“SCBU Dad’s Team  Regional/National Development”) and the RVI Family Integrated Care Team (“Be Kind To Your Mind”).


For 2019/20 – the Scholarship was opened up further to Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) in acknowledgement of the increasing collaboration with and support from them across the Network for neonatal services, as well as the Neonatal Critical Care Review (NCCR) recommendations that were published at the end of 2019 and highlighted the role that AHPs had in enhancing neonatal care and baby outcomes. This proved to be a successful initiative – not only did we receive 2 applications from AHPs, but the winner was a Speech & Language Therapist working at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough. Caroline Gilg-Watson’s winning entry was entitled “Practical Strategies to Support Pre-Term Babies to Develop Life Long Feeding Skills”.

The idea behind Caroline’s proposal was to Develop, produce and analyse (using PDSA methodology) a video based on-line training programme for neonatal staff and parents to support pre-term babies on their journey to successful long term oral feeding. 

The training programme itself will consist of a series of short videos focussing on practical and easy strategies to support feeding skills. Videos will be easy to access with a link and QR code and provide a brief summary, so they will be easily accessible without requiring a big time commitment. The expectation is that the information will enhance staffs existing experience and knowledge whilst for parents, the videos will serve as introduction, with the expectation that they can then discuss the ideas with their baby’s team.  

Staff will be given accompanying worksheets with key information, evidence and some reflective learning tasks. A separate sheet will capture feedback, audit scores and will need to be signed and returned as proof of learning. 

Parents can be given information on each video as it becomes appropriate for their baby. A feeding journal / bedside chart will be developed to record each family’s journey through pre-feeding skills, early oral trials, gaining feeding skills and onwards in building effective feeding relationships beyond the neonatal unit. 

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 amongst staff working across our neonatal units. Once again we had some excellent entries when we ran the Award in late 2019, which was then impacted by the Covid pandemic, but the judges were unanimous in their decision to pick Caroline’s project. 

As always, we will look forward to following the Caroline’s progress as she develops her project. Part of this will include her giving a presentation at our next annual Network Conference. We hope feel that the resources that Caroline is looking to develop will become an invaluable tool for education for staff across our neonatal units and hopefully beyond.”


Our winner for 2019-20 Caroline Gilg-Watson receiving her Award from Lynne Paterson (Nurse Lead, Northern Neonatal Network).

Applications for the next annual Scholarship are now open – closing date is 31st March 2022, more details via the links below!

2022/23 - Skin to skin cuddles from cot:


 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 and AHP 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 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 or AHP 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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