A Whitehaven-based student has been honoured for her commitment to local healthcare after winning an award in memory of a much-loved local doctor.
Lucy Rowley is this year’s winner of the Olu Orugun Award, a prize that is a given annually to a physician associate student from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to honour the late Dr Orugun, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust’s associate medical director and consultant physician, who passed away in 2017.
The award is given each year to a student who has shown dedication, compassion, teamwork and resilience in their work, qualities that Dr Orugun was known for during his time as a consultant physician based at the West Cumberland Hospital.
Lucy, who lived in Leeds from the age of 15 after moving to the UK from Kenya, has spent the last two years living in Whitehaven and working at the West Cumberland Hospital as a healthcare assistant alongside her studies.
The 29-year-old said: “I am incredibly delighted and humbled to receive this award, considering what it stands for and how much Dr Orugun meant to his colleagues at West Cumberland Hospital.
“It is a great achievement and a huge honour not only for myself but also my family.”
Lucy has been based at UCLan’s Westlakes Campus since she started her MSc Physician Associate Practice course in 2019 and has become very much part of the local community through her work, studies and attending Emmanuel Church in Moor Row.
After working as an orthotist helping people with specialist footwear and artificial devices, Lucy decided to pursue a career as a physician associate because she wanted to have a wider range of medical knowledge.
“I strongly believe that my role as a physician associate adds value to the multidisciplinary team and enhances patient care,” Lucy said, “As a physician associate I am in the ideal position to collaborate with the various healthcare professionals and by approaching patient care holistically, we aim to provide a better health outcome.”
Lucy, who will graduate from UCLan later this year and hopes to continue working at West Cumberland Hospital, went on to say she’s excited to work in the local community.
She said: “I’m really looking forward to continuing my work with the Whitehaven community and having a positive impact in people’s health and well-being; I’ve been welcomed by everyone and this is my way of giving something back.”
Dr Rod Harpin, Medical Director for North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, added: “I worked with Olu and highly respected him for his values and commitment to his patients.
“He had a strong advocacy for the development of learning opportunities for people in west Cumbria and would be very proud of Lucy and the dedication she has shown to her studies.
“I wish her the very best in her onwards career and thank her for demonstrating the qualities and values that Olu held so dear.”
UCLan physician associate degree course leader Jane Rutt-Howard said: “The team at UCLan’s School of Medicine is very proud of our new Olu Orugun recipient, Lucy Rowley, as she truly embodies the spirit of being a physician associate.
“This award, in memory of our colleague who was instrumental in setting up the physician associate programme at our Westlakes Campus in Cumbria, is in recognition of his legacy, enthusiasm and inspiration to others.
“Lucy has shown determination and charm to do the best she can, which is a value she will take unreservedly into her clinical practice as a qualified physician associate. I wish her all the best in her future career.”