Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

School nurse wins award after pandemic support

Published: 4 August 2020 at 11:16

Tracey Torrie with her certificate

Tracey Torrie wins Queen’s Nursing Institute Dora Roylance memorial prize

A student nurse at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) has been given an award by the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) for her work in schools at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tracey Torrie, from Great Leighs, was working in the school nursing service before joining her BSc Specialist Community Public Health Nursing course at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) last September.

A mature student, Tracey had originally qualified as a nurse in 1992, but although she had studied several modules at degree level, did not possess a degree-level qualification.

During the peak of the pandemic in the UK, Tracey was redeployed into the school nursing service to provide much needed assistance. She had a caseload of eight primary and one secondary school, and found parents and children were suffering from stress and anxiety due to the pressures of lockdown.

Tracey impressed tutors by taking her learning, particularly around stress and resilience, to help people in need during her time in the field.

She was nominated for the QNI’s Dora Roylance Prize for outstanding achievement as a health visitor student by her tutors, and has now been notified of her success.

Tracey, who is a practicing Nichiren Buddhist Soka Gakkai International, said:

“Initially I struggled because I thought I had been redeployed back to a school nurse and this wasn't on the front line. Then I realised that I was helping as I was providing emotional support and reassurance to families who were struggling. 

“The research and learning we had learnt at ARU around compassionate resilience enabled me to see that this was very important, because parents needed that support encouragement and reassurance to know that they were doing the best they could.

“At times it was difficult working remotely or having to undertake a visit dressed in PPE. However both my Buddhist practice, which resonates with the research and evidence ARU has been teaching us, enabled me to keep feeling hopeful and positive and attempting to share this with parents and children and colleagues. It also encouraged me to not feel overwhelmed by some of the desperate situations children and families were in.”


Mandy Wagg, Tracey’s tutor at ARU, said:

“Tracey is a perfect example of lifelong learning, reflective practice and self-compassion, and a perfect case example of bettering her practice to serve the communities with whom she works. 

“Tracey is also a perfect example of the value of school nursing. Over the years the school nursing service has very much depleted and some areas discontinuing services all together. This small group of specialist community public health nurses really do need shining a light on.”


Dora Roylance worked as a midwife, health visitor for several years and left the QNI a legacy when she died, aged 100, in 2016. Winners receive an undisclosed cash prize.