University of Bedfordshire presents new graduation award in memory of midwife Stephanie O’Kane

The University of Bedfordshire's Faculty of Health and Social Sciences presented a new award at a graduation ceremony in memory of alumni Stephanie O'Kane, who died earlier this year.

The Stephanie O’Kane award for innovation in maternity care was introduced by the University in recognition of the outstanding contribution Stephanie made to maternity care and the huge impact she made to the care and safety of pregnant women in the local area.

University presents new graduation award to Jenny Vagharia in memory of midwife Stephanie OKane.

University presents new graduation award to Jenny Vagharia in memory of midwife Stephanie OKane.

Stephanie, who was based at the Luton campus, graduated as a registered midwife from the University in 2011 and went on to work for Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

She also acted as a mentor to Bedfordshire students and was very instrumental in ensuring students were nurtured into safe and competent midwives.

The new award was presented to midwifery student, Jenny Vagharia, who is based in Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury. Jenny demonstrated clear and innovative practice that could directly benefit women and families – something which reflected Stephanie’s passion and philosophy.

Jenny’s final project, which was inspired from her experiences in the local NHS Trust where she gained clinical practice experience, focused on the introduction of an induction of labour clinic where women could be offered a face-to-face appointment to learn more about induction of labour and talk directly to a midwife about all that this entails.

Carla Jayne Ball, Senior Midwifery Lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire, who linked with Stephanie as a midwife and taught Jenny, said: “This award is very special in recognising the impact Stephanie had on maternity services and our midwifery students.

"She is missed greatly by colleagues and students who have worked closely with her.

“Jenny’s project stood out to the team, as though simple in its design, has potential for far reaching impact on women and families for the future when implemented.”