RICHARD Stevenson, 36, has been recognised with the Care Practitioner of the Year award from The Maria Mallaband Care Group for his work as Care Practitioner and Head of the Dementia Unit at Yohden Care Complex in Hartlepool.

The award identifies Richard, who has worked in various areas of the care sector throughout his life, as showing excellence in his field.

He said: "It feels absolutely amazing.

"I don’t go to work to win awards or to be patted on the back, I go because the people need help and support, but to be recognised for the work that I’ve done throughout the pandemic feels brilliant."

"To know that you’re making a difference and you have made a difference to people is absolutely fantastic.

"It’s knocked me speechless.

"I’ve always said if I can make one person a day smile at work then I’ve done my job.

"Just going to work and helping someone with what we take for granted as a simple task and seeing the appreciation on their face – it’s a rewarding feeling which no amount of awards could give you.

"This is where I want to be.

"I’ve always said the older generation have done their part for us so now it’s our turn to give back."

Richard is completing the Nursing Associate Programme at Teesside University’s Centre for Professional and Executive Development in Darlington.

The University was recognised with the Nursing Associate Training Programme Provider of the Year at the Student Nursing Times Awards last year for delivering training which goes ‘above and beyond’ and has been shortlisted again this year.

The training course identifies the workplace as vital in building knowledge and experience in partnership with the University’s learning environment to develop highly skilled industry practitioners.

Richard said: "The programme has renewed my career passion.

"I’ve thrown myself right into the course and I don’t intend to stop after I complete it.

"I intend to go further and carry on with training to become a fully qualified nurse.

"I want to go all the way if I possibly can."

While juggling his studies at University and his work at the Yohden Care Complex, Richard is looking after his daughter, who he and his partner adopted before the pandemic.

"I’m doing it all for our Ella, so she can look up to her dad," Richard added.

He has also taken on the role of Cohort Representative for the Nursing Associate Programme.

Mark Wheatley, Senior Lecturer in Nursing Skills in the School of Health and Life Sciences, said: "We are extremely proud of the dedication shown by our students.

"We feel extremely privileged to offer training programmes which provide the expertise and support needed as they take the next step in their nursing careers.

"The Care Practitioner of the Year Award scheme celebrates excellence within the sector, and Richard deserves to be recognised for his hard work.

"We at the centre are all very proud of his achievement."

To find out more information about studying at the Nursing Associate Programme at Teesside University, please visit:

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