“It has always been my ambition to work in my own community” UHI Nursing & Midwifery Graduation 2023

UHI’s nursing and midwifery graduation 2023 celebrated the success of over 120 students from UHI’s nursing and midwifery departments in Inverness and Stornoway. 

Leading forensic anthropologist and President of St. John’s College Oxford, Professor Dame Sue Black, Baroness of Strome, and renowned highland musician Duncan Chisholm were awarded honorary doctorates.

The awards were presented at UHI’s nursing and midwifery graduation and celebration of success and achievement at the Free North Church in Inverness on Thursday 16 November.

Speaking about her award, Professor Black said:

“It is such an honour to come home and to be awarded this degree by the University of the Highlands and Islands. I am so proud to be a true Invernessian and it was Inverness Royal Academy that gave me the most incredible opportunity to use education as my vehicle to explore the world and find my purpose.

Professor Black’s honorary doctorate was presented in recognition of her contribution to science.

Commenting on his award Duncan Chisholm said:

“It is an honour to be awarded this honorary doctorate from UHI and I am very happy to see my musical endeavours appreciated and so clearly perceived. It is always by considering what has gone before, our shared 1000 years of our culture, that we can prepare and design for what will come next. Those foundations of culture give us the strength to create new streams within our tradition. Bringing our tradition together with contemporary media and production has always been at the heart of my work as a musician and creator.

“I realise, however, that it is respecting our tradition and educating ourselves in what has gone before that we can really look forward with confidence. I feel privileged to be one part of this vibrant and valuable sector of the arts. Traditional music gives us a sense of belonging and a sense of place. It is a great river that flows through our lives and as a custodian of that culture I have always felt a responsibility to protect what has gone before as much as moving it forward in new and exciting ways.”

Duncan Chisholm’s award recognises his work in the creative arts.

The ceremony also celebrated the success of over 120 students from UHI’s nursing and midwifery departments in Inverness and Stornoway. The students, who were joined by 400 guests, celebrated success in a range of qualifications including Higher National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas, degrees and postgraduate programmes.

The students were played into the ceremony by local piper and UHI Gaelic officer, DJ MacIntyre, and congratulated by Professor Nicola Carey, Head of Nursing and Midwifery. The keynote address was given by Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, who congratulated the students on their dedication and commitment.

Darryl Geegan – UHI Nursing and Midwifery Student of the Year

Darryl Geegan (32) from Inverness was presented with UHI’s Nursing and Midwifery Student of the Year award. Darryl, who completed a BSc Adult Nursing degree, was commended for his work to promote nursing and the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion.

Roma Gibb – Inventor of the Bed Band

Roma Gibb (39) from Evanton completed a BSc degree in adult nursing. Over the course of her degree, she garnered praise for devising and developing an innovative product which helps people with mobility issues get a good night’s sleep. The Bed Band, which is currently going through testing and the patenting process, has received support from Innovate UK, the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal health and life sciences innovation fund, Converge and Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s IMPACT 30 and Pathfinder Accelerator programmes.

Eilidh Barbour – Chancellor’s Nursing Award winner

Eilidh Barbour (32) from Fort William was named as the winner of UHI’s 2023 Chancellor’s Nursing Award. Established in 2020, the annual award is presented on behalf of UHI’s Chancellor, HRH The Princess Royal.

Eilidh, who has completed a BSc Adult Nursing degree, was nominated for the award by her personal academic tutor, Hannah Hollinger. Eilidh received £100 and a framed certificate to mark her success.

Speaking about her award, she said:

“Being nominated for the Chancellor’s award was such a lovely surprise and to win has been incredible. Studying for the nursing degree has been a mixture of highs and lows. I’ve celebrated achieving skills and passing exams, but also struggled in times of loss and grief. I’ve lost a grandparent for every year of studying and I don’t doubt they would all be so proud to see me standing here today.

“My family and friends have been the best support I could ever wish for. I came through the degree with a great bunch of girls who have always looked out for each other and kept each other going. But the biggest and best supporters have been my husband James, my children Harry and Zoey and my mum Jeni who have always encouraged me to pursue my goals. I am so proud to call myself a nurse and can honestly say, despite its challenges, I love my job.”

Laura MacKay – BSc Nursing graduate

“I started the BSc Nursing course in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Studying at the Western Isles campus allowed me to complete much of the course from my home in Benbecula.

“It has always been my ambition to work in my own community and I feel very fortunate that my clinical placements took place throughout the Western Isles, providing me with the opportunity to work, not only in my own community in Uist, but in Lewis and Harris as well.”

“I am very grateful for the experiences I have had and the people I have met along the way! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time studying at UHI and would like to thank the staff for the excellent support they have provided over the last three years. I am really looking forward to graduating and for the opportunity to catch up with my cohort. I would like to wish everyone the best in their future careers!”

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