Nur-sing when you’re winning

Published by  Communications

On 11th Jan 2023

Steve Smith holding his award up with another person. Steve is wearing a grey suit.

Steve Smith, aka the ‘Singing Lecturer’ (more on that moniker later), was awarded a Chief Nursing Officer Gold Award by the Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May at a special ceremony in December, recognising his decades-long service to nursing education and his contribution to international neurosciences nursing.  

Steve, who worked at the University of East Anglia (UEA) for over two decades in a variety of roles in the School of Health Sciences, including Associate Professor in Nursing Sciences and Director of Employability was nominated for the award by his academic colleagues in the School, supported by testimonies from students, alumni, colleagues and peers from the international neuroscience nursing community.  

Coralie Roll, Associate Professor in Nursing Sciences, School of Health Sciences said:  

“Steve is a true inspiration to UEA colleagues, students and graduates, so we are thrilled that he has been recognised in this way. I worked with Steve for eight years and have witnessed first-hand his inexhaustible dedication to nurse education and the genuine, positive connections he made with everyone he worked with and taught.” 

Eligibility for a Gold Award is particularly rigorous, reserved only for those who meet exacting criteria, which includes being a role model for others by achieving the highest standard in their area of clinical practice, making a significant contribution to the quality of care received by patients and their families, having had significant impact on health within a community, and demonstrating innovative practices or entrepreneurship within their area of specialism. 

Although the award highlighted Steve’s own immense contributions over his sparkling career, he is keen to praise those he worked with during that time:  

“I am stunned, humbled and extremely grateful to receive this award. It has been an enormous privilege to learn from so many inspiring and courageous patients and their families, and to work with imaginative, innovative colleagues and students over decades. They shaped my very rewarding career, and I owe each a huge thanks.” 

Steve’s unique approach to teaching is fondly remembered by those he worked alongside and the thousands of students he taught during his tenure. Using his wealth of clinical experience and specialist knowledge in neuroscience, the ‘Singing Lecturer’ brought complex healthcare topics to life through music, ensuring the voice of the patient and their families resonated within the forty-plus songs he has written. At the Norwich Science Festival in 2019, this unique approach to teaching saw Steve scoop the Best Presentation Award. 

If you would like to hear Steve in action, check out his ‘Happy International Nurses Day’ song on the UEA YouTube channel.  

Alongside his academic achievements, Steve’s passion for neurosciences nursing, in particular patient experience of Huntington’s Chorea disease led to international collaborations with specialists in Europe and the United States, presenting at conferences and contributing to the creation of training programme resources.  

After retiring from the university in 2021, Steve has continued to contribute to healthcare education, only recently stepping down from leading on a Health Education East of England project focused on improving the recruitment and retention of healthcare students in our region. His next undertaking will be to work on the design of a neuroscience healthcare training programme with international universities. 

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