A graduation ceremony last week marked a special day for a local mother and daughter - and the bittersweet end of their educational journey together.
Nicola Cruickshank, 41, and her daughter Staci, 21, from Auchleven near Insch, graduated from Robert Gordon University (RGU) on Friday 7 December. They supported each other throughout their Adult Nursing degrees which they joined together three years ago.
For Nicola, joining university at a later stage in her career was a daunting prospect, having never studied beyond school level. Over the years, she worked as a playgroup leader, a carer and latterly as a senior carer in a nursing home.
She said: “When the opportunity came along to apply for a nursing degree I decided it was time to do something with my life before I got too old.”
Staci’s nursing inspiration came earlier than her mother. When she was 16, she began working at Drumdarroch nursing home, Insch, and found the job rewarding. It was through her care work that Staci decided to pursue a degree in adult nursing.
Nicola and Staci chose to study in Aberdeen to remain close to home and family, and the programme at RGU offered the perfect opportunity.
The mother and daughter duo experienced many highlights and challenges through their studies. For Nicola, the biggest learning curve was using computers for the first time, and getting to grips with theory. However she learned to master both along with the support of lecturers, class mates and Staci.
Staci added: “The main challenge I encountered was during the first few days of my placement as I wanted to make a good impression and demonstrate my knowledge. The theory part of the course was also a challenge but we muddled through together.
Looking at their highlights, Nicola and Staci were delighted to have passed their assignments and exams first time.
Nicola added: “Throughout my course and placements I have made many friends which i hope we will all keep in contact.”
The graduation ceremony was cause for double celebration, as both students have already secured jobs. Nicola has been successful in getting a nursing position at Ward17 in Woodend Hospital, and Staci has begun a staff nurse position at Kingsmead nursing home, Kingswells.
Staci is set to move to Edinburgh in a few years time for her partner’s studies, and ultimately aims to begin a career in a surgical ward or in theatres.
Mother and daughter were joined on their day of celebration by Nicola’s husband, Kevin Cruickshank, her parents, Sandy and Peggy Forbes, and Staci's fiancé, David Livingstone.
Robert Gordon University
Tel: 01224 262389
Mob: 07970 622229