Nursing and midwifery students honoured at graduation ceremony
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.
More than 100 graduates are celebrating their achievements at UHI's nursing and midwifery graduation ceremony today.
The ceremony, which took place at the Free North Church in Inverness, was UHI's first nursing and midwifery graduation since the start of the pandemic.
The graduates were piped into the ceremony by UHI Gaelic officer DJ MacIntyre and congratulated by Professor Brian Williams, head of UHI's School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences. The keynote address was given by the Scottish Government's associate chief nursing officer Mark Richards, who praised the students' tenacity and dedication throughout the pandemic.
The graduates, who were joined by more than 280 guests, celebrated success in a range of qualifications including Higher National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas, degrees and postgraduate programmes.
UHI's student of the year was named as Samuel Thomas (20), from Forres. Samuel started UHI's BSc nursing programme in 2020, after completing an HNC in healthcare practice at UHI Moray the previous year. His lecturers described him as an outstanding student who demonstrated a strong work ethic and achieved high academic grades.
During the ceremony, UHI presented honorary doctorates to Dr Clare Morrison and Professor David Lurie. Dr Morrison, director of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland, has had a diverse career in pharmacy, quality improvement and professional leadership. Her doctorate was awarded in recognition of her outstanding contribution to promoting and enhancing access to public services, specifically to digital health within the Highlands and nationally.
Professor Lurie is an eminent scientist who specialised in medical physics. Before his retirement in 2021, he was a chairman of biomedical physics at the University of Aberdeen, where he is now an Emeritus Professor. His doctorate recognises his outstanding contribution to the development of research and scholarly activity across UHI.
The ceremony was followed by a reception at the Centre for Health Science.
Dr Nicola Carey, UHI's head of nursing and midwifery, said: "This is our first graduation which celebrates the achievements made during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our nursing and midwifery students played a vital role in supporting the work of the NHS over the last couple of years, on top of completing their academic studies. We are here today to show pride in what they have done and to wish them well as they take the next step in serving our remote, rural and island communities."
Among the graduates was Dr Ronie Walters (47), from Inverness, who is the first person to graduate with a PhD from UHI's department of nursing and midwifery.
She said: "I chose to undertake the PhD for a personal challenge. I love learning and, after finishing my masters in applied positive psychology, it was the next goal to aim for. Obtaining a PhD shows significant transferable skills – research, discipline, organisation, ability to multi-task, data management and analysis.
"My research looked at the impact of health literacy – how we make information and services accessible, understandable and actionable – in cardiac rehabilitation services. I was lucky to have two amazing supervisors – Professor Trish Gorely and Professor Stephen Leslie – who made the process an absolute pleasure.
"Now I have completed by PhD, I am enjoying a varied career working as a research fellow in the health psychology department at the University of Stirling, lecturing on social psychology with the Open University and providing freelance training, research consultancy and coaching services."
It was a double celebration for the Walters family as Ronie's husband Stephen also graduated in today's ceremony after completing his BSc in mental health nursing with the department.