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Nursing degree marks a new chapter for caring Gemma


A student who helped care for her grandmother from a young age has begun her career as a nurse after graduating from Robert Gordon University (RGU).

Gemma CrightonGemma Crighton (21) graduated alongside her classmates with a BA in Adult Nursing at a ceremony at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom on Wednesday 7 December.

The former St. Machar Academy pupil was inspired to study the course after helping her grandmother in her battle with cancer from a young age. Sadly, her grandmother passed away during Gemma’s second year of studying and her great-grandmother passed away 10 weeks later.

Gemma said: “That period was one of the most difficult times I’ve ever gone through. I was on my nursing placement up in Elgin and had to miss quite a lot of days, due to being in Aberdeen with my family. I even thought about leaving university.

“But I realised that I had spent years caring for my grandmother and great-grandmother and that I could put that compassion to use to care for others in the future.

“So, the experience gave me the determination to push on and make my family proud of me.”

Throughout Gemma’s training at RGU, she undertook a number of nursing placements, designed to enhance her skills and prepare her for life as a healthcare provider.

These included Community Nursing at Albyn Medical Practice, working in Urology at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and spending 12 weeks within the Orthopaedic Theatre at Woodend Hospital.

Gemma said: “It was incredible to visit different areas of nursing and get the relevant experience, whether it was in a ward, within a community setting or in theatre.

“I was able to learn so much practical knowledge and could take that with me on to the next placement, where I could show them my skills and could continue to build on what I had been learning.”

Now that she has graduated, Gemma is working in Aberdeen but is looking forward to the number of options that will soon open up for her.

She said: “I am now part of the Newly Qualified Nurse Programme, which will take up the first two years of my career.

“I am currently working as a Staff Nurse at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, within the acute medical sector. After a year, the programme will move me to a new area to broaden my professional experience for a second year.

“Once that has finished, I will be able to move wherever I want to go and look at different areas of healthcare. It’s a really exciting time and the last few years have definitely shown me that I can do whatever I put my mind to."

Release by Jonathon Milne
Communications Officer | Health and Sport
Press and Media Enquiries