Coventry University honouring history-making nurse May Parsons

May Parsons at her graduation

May Parsons

University news / Student news

Friday 18 November 2022

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Coventry University is honouring history-making nurse May Parsons in recognition of her extensive contribution to nursing.

May became the first person in the world to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to a patient outside of a clinical trial, administering the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to nonagenarian Margaret Keenan at University Hospital, Coventry on December 8, 2020.

On top of caring for respiratory patients at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, kick-starting the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme and meeting the late Queen Elizabeth II she has also been developing her leadership skills at Coventry University.

Modern Matron May was part of the first cohort on the Senior Leaders Master’s Degree Apprenticeship and has just completed her MSc Global Healthcare Management.

At her graduation the School of Nursing Midwifery and Health recognised her with the Endeavour Award.

The Endeavour award is given to a student who has demonstrated skills and attributes that go ‘above and beyond’ throughout the course of their studies.

When I moved to the UK from the Philippines, I never dreamed it would be possible to meet Queen Elizabeth II and get awards like this.

It is an honour, and I am representing the NHS workers, women, people from ethnic minority backgrounds and the people we have lost during the pandemic.

There are a lot of people out there who do this job with the same commitments, who are more deserving, so this award is for all our NHS workers because it is the people that make the NHS.

I am proud of myself for completing this course during the pressures of managing the COVID wards and the course has helped me further my leadership skills and taught me resilience and to be more self-reflective.

You never stop learning and you can do anything you put your mind to.

May Parsons

May’s commitment to life-long learning while saving lives through her work on the wards and the vaccination campaign epitomises the phrase going above and beyond.

She is an inspiration to our students, and everyone associated with the nursing profession, providing a local and global perspective on how we can all work together to create better futures and deliver the best care possible to the patients, families and communities we all serve.

Coventry University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Health and Life Sciences Lisa Bayliss-Pratt

May is backing the NHS and Coventry University’s bid to recruit 1,000 new local nurses by 2027 and urged those who are eligible to get vaccinated this winter.

Nursing is the most fulfilling job I can think of.

If you have a desire to help people and will care for people as if they are your family, like I do, then we need you to consider a career in the NHS.

May Parsons

You can find out how to start your nursing career at Coventry University by booking a place at one of our open days on November 26 or December 7.