Overcoming personal challenges to complete her nursing degree at Queen Margaret University saw Emma Hay, of Greenlaw, win the Atholl Crescent Award.
The award, named after the university’s first location in Edinburgh, is presented to a new graduate who successfully completes their degree despite competing priorities and personal challenges.
Emma, 23, had a particularly challenging final year. She was a carer for her grandmother, and within months her father and two grandfathers also suffered serious illnesses.
“There was a lot of additional stress during my last year of study,” said Emma.
“The nursing staff at QMU were very supportive and allowed me to have extensions to deadlines for my submissions.
“I was given great opportunities to develop my skills and knowledge and to experience the delivery of healthcare abroad.”
“During one of my summer holidays, I was supported by the vice-chancellor’s international travel fund to travel to Africa, where I taught first aid.
“The following summer, I was lucky enough to gain the Hazel McCallum Award to go on a nursing placement to Nepal. This involved three weeks’ work experience in a hospital and one week in a village health centre.”
Emma is now working as a staff nurse in the infectious diseases unit at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital.
Lesley McKinlay, programme leader at QMU, who put Emma forward for the Atholl Crescent Award, said: “I am delighted that Emma’s exceptional drive and determination have been recognised.
“She is an outstanding student who is not only dedicated to her developing role as a nurse but who has also demonstrated her ability to successfully juggle multiple priorities.
“She has also made use of opportunities that were presented to her at QMU which have strengthened her skills and understanding of healthcare. She is an inspiration to staff and students.”