Determined Elgin mum Susan McAleney has paid tribute to the friends and neighbours who rallied round to help her complete her university studies by providing essential childcare.
Susan (33) graduated from Robert Gordon University (RGU) with a Bachelor of Nursing at Aberdeen Music Hall on Friday, December 13.
The single mother of three, who travelled from Elgin to Aberdeen each day of term for two years to attend her lectures, was joined at the ceremony by her children Belle (11), Archie (6) and Johnnie (4).
Originally from Paisley, Susan moved to Moray 10 years ago while her ex-husband served in the Royal Air Force (RAF). She recently started work as a staff nurse at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin and has thanked those who helped with childcare arrangements during her time at RGU.
Susan said: “The past few years have been like a roller coaster and I’m still in shock at completing the course and graduating. It has been a struggle to get myself through university due to a lack of funding to help with childcare but sheer determination has got me there.
“At the start of my final year I was unsure if I would be able to complete my course as it simply wasn’t possible to combine studying full-time with paying for childcare for my kids. The Royal College of Nursing contacted the Press and Journal on my behalf who published two articles about my situation.
“If it hadn’t been for that or the kind generosity of my friends and neighbours who then offered to watch my children while I was at university or on placement I would not have been able to get this far.
“The friends I'd like to thank are Carla, Michelle, Kirsten, Kim, Christine, Angie, Paula, Charis, Lesley and all the staff at Moray College Nursery. My brother Iain and the children’s grandparents have also helped financially and looked after the kids during the school holidays. I’ll be forever thankful to them all for helping me to achieve this success.”
Susan has always wanted to study nursing and focus on developing her career when she had her first child but the time never seemed right to start the course.
She said: “Eventually I bit the bullet and enrolled on the course as I wanted to get going and do something for myself. I would urge single mums who are considering nursing as a career option to look into what funding is available for them as there is no additional childcare support above the bursary available to nursing students which everyone can apply for.
“However, I’ve proved that it is possible to do it, even in the most challenging of circumstances and I’m looking forward to enjoying a long and successful career in nursing.”
Communications Officer | Health and Sport