Abigail Coxon (21) took to the virtual stage in front of Robert Gordon University (RGU)’s global community of staff, alumni, friends, and family on Friday 4 December to accept her degree.
“I feel very proud to have completed my studies and gain a bachelor’s degree - especially through a pandemic,” said Abigail. “However, I think my family will always be proudest of me. It's a surreal feeling finishing your degree, knowing all the hard work that has gone into it.”
Abigail was one of RGU’s many health and social care students who showed great resilience in the face of the pandemic and boldly chose to use her well-earned skills and expertise to work on the frontline of NHS Grampian’s workforce.
“I was lucky enough to be put on a six-month placement in the emergency department of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) during my final year to help with the pandemic,” said Abigail. “It was a fantastic opportunity.”
Across her time with RGU, Abigail enjoyed taking advantage of numerous placement opportunities provided by the university, and gained valuable, real-life experience of professional practice across many settings.
“I found the placement opportunities the most helpful for my career,” said Abigail. “The fifty-fifty split of academic and practical learning really helped me with my course. The variations in placement locations were brilliant too; I had placements in community settings, general medicine, general surgery, at the intensive care unit, and the emergency department all within ARI.”
As one of the largest providers of graduates for NHS Grampian, and for Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals for the region, the university has close collaborative links with the health sector to be able to provide a vast mix of placement experiences. This was a major factor that attracted Abigail to study with RGU.
“The course had better placement opportunities and length compared to other universities,” said Abigail. “12-week placements were the most useful, giving you a taste of what nursing actually entails. It really helped to have that extended time to settle in and to prepare you for when you leave university - in comparison to the eight-week offerings elsewhere.
“The ease of attending a university in the vicinity of where I lived—saving on accommodation costs—was also appealing. It was actually super handy to access the locations I needed to be between ARI, RGU and where I lived, too”
Due to her diligent performance in her placement role, Abigail has already stepped into the next stage of her career journey.