EAST Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is the best place for student midwives, according to a survey.

UCLan students awarded NICU – which is based in the Women and Newborn Centre at Burnley General Hospital – Best Placement of the Year.


Vanessa Smith, neonatal staff nurse at the trust, also won Best Mentor of the Year voted by UCLan students for her dedication to supporting student nurses through their training.

Vanessa said: “I was extremely overwhelmed to have been voted Best Mentor. I was merely doing my job and helping the students get from where I once was to finally a registered nurse. I am so pleased to have been recognised for the support I gave them, I can’t wait to work with them in the future as registered nurses.”

The centre delivers a range of services for women and babies co-ordinated by the family care division of East Lancashire Hospitals Trust.

The services at LWNC are state-of-the-art including East Lancashire’s centralised consultant-led maternity unit, as well as a level three Neonatal intensive care unit, a midwife-led birth centre and a purpose-built gynaecology unit.

Kirsty Dwyer, a student nurse at ELHT, praised the staff and said: “I really enjoyed working within NICU, I have managed to secure a full time position on NICU and throughout my training this is where I wanted to specialise in.

“The staff really embraced us and made us feel really welcome and supported us throughout our training and I would recommend to anybody that they come and work within this Trust.

“They well and truly deserve the recognition. It’s a fabulous unit. I have gained so much confidence and my skills have developed so well thanks to the team here and I cannot wait to start my new role as a neo-natal staff nurse.”

NICU is a busy unit which sees 600-650 babies each year.

Tracy Thompson, matron for NICU, said: “It is a great achievement for the trust and the family care division and I would like to thank and congratulate all of the NICU team for their hard work in supporting the students to an exceptional standard”.