Karen, Suzanne, Katy, Jennifer and Hannah were among 664 students who had their degrees conferred at an Open University (OU) degree ceremony at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall today (Saturday 28 October).
They were also among the first nurses to graduate with a degree at an OU ceremony, the result of a partnership between The Open University and the NHS with funding from the Scottish Government.
This particular degree programme had been designed specifically to help support workers advance and become registered nurses while still working on the job. This means there are more degree-educated staff which leads to a higher standard of care and better outcomes for patients. It also widens access to higher education.
Katy Foster, 33, from Ayr, graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Adult Nursing. She was employed as a support worker in Adult Complex Packages of Care (Spinal Injuries) by NHS Ayrshire and Arran who supported her to study for a degree to become a registered nurse. She now works as a staff nurse.
Karen Beck, 27, from Prestwick, graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Adult Nursing. She was a clinical support worker when her employer, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, offered to support her to study for her degree. She now works as a staff nurse at Ayr Hospital.
I knew I could stay in my job and still have a monthly income rather than to have to go to university and live off a bursary. I could also apply knowledge from my day job to my studies.
To actually get there and get the qualification and to wear the staff nurse badge, it’s still quite unreal to be honest. It is a really good feeling.OU graduate Karen Beck
Suzanne Eadie, 32, from the Isle of Skye, graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Adult Nursing. She was a healthcare assistant and ward housekeeper, working for NHS Highland in Broadford Hospital before graduating and becoming a staff nurse in an orthopaedics and trauma ward.
Hannah Parker, 27, from Argyll, graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Mental Health Nursing. She was a support worker in the community mental health team in Oban when her employer, NHS Highland, offered to support her to study for her degree. She now works as a mental health nurse in an in-patient unit in Lochgilphead.
Hannah said, “Sometimes I thought I would be completely stranded with my studies, because I was in such a rural location. But I was absolutely gobsmacked with the support I got from The Open University.”
Jennifer Wilson, 33, from Argyll, graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Mental Health Nursing. She started off as a healthcare assistant at Argyll and Bute Hospital. NHS Highland supported her to study for her degree and she now works as a registered mental health nurse on the acute admission ward at Mid Argyll Hospital and Integrated Care Centre.
Our students come from all kinds of backgrounds and from all over Scotland and they study for lots of different reasons, but what they all have in common is a fierce desire to fit learning into their busy lives.
These nurses are a fantastic example of that commitment and dedication and I’m extremely proud of them and everyone else that graduated with The Open University in Scotland today.Susan Stewart, Director of The Open University in Scotland
Honorary degrees were also presented to Edwyn Collins, musician and producer; Maria Macnamara, founder of charity Smalls for All; Andy Scott, sculptor and artist; and Ruth Wishart, writer and broadcaster.
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