Annie-Theresa MacDonald (27) from the Isle of Barra was on stage to accept her degree and graduate from Robert Gordon University (RGU) at the Music Hall, Aberdeen, on Tuesday 10 December.
While in a development role within NHS Western Isles, RGU had been singled out to Annie as the best place to undertake the MSc Advancing Nursing Practice course – despite the distance.
Annie said: “I knew that the course would give me a greater depth of knowledge to carry out my role as a District Nurse so that I can provide the best possible care to the patients on my caseload.
“In order to travel to Aberdeen every week, I had to fly to Glasgow, get the train to Aberdeen, spend the night in Aberdeen, train back to Glasgow and fly back to Benbecula. In total, a 500 mile round trip.”
While some of the modules required Annie to be on campus on a weekly basis, much of her study was completed part-time across two-years, which she successfully completed while working full-time as a District Nurse.
During her trips to campus, Annie enjoyed meeting and studying with other trainee District Nurses from around Scotland.
“I’ve made some life-long friends through this course and will continue to keep in touch with them,” said Annie. “Taking on this course, as well as working full-time and studying for my Objective Structured Clinical Examination, was challenging at times. Adapting to the stress and becoming more resilient throughout is something I can take with me in my role as a leader and in my own personal life as well.”
“Through undertaking a postgraduate degree, I feel more confident in utilising the leadership skills required to lead a team,” said Annie. “I feel I can now deliver a more holistic and person-centred approach to care through the new skill-sets and knowledge I’ve learned.”
Annie is now in a District Nurse position where she leads a team of community nurses and manages the caseload for three islands.
“It is my hope that District Nurses will, in the near future, get the recognition they deserve,” Annie said. “RGU has given me the confidence and knowledge to prepare me for my District Nurse role, for which I will always be thankful.”