Masters a first for nursing and midwifery students

The very first cohort of students to graduate with a Masters qualification in nursing or midwifery led practice from Robert Gordon University are to cross the stage this Friday, 4 December, at 10.30am.

The group of six students are based across Scotland, Wales and even with the armed forces in Germany. They began the M Nursing / Midwifery course via online distance learning in September 2007 and are now going about implementing what they have gained from the course into their everyday working practice. 

The strength of the course is that it is very much practice-based and each of the students has focused their course project on something highly relevant to their professional work. 

Natalie Stott (25) from Aberdeen has redeveloped and piloted new nursing care plans for the Acute Oncology Unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. In recognition of how successful these have been, she hopes to carry on this work in other areas. 

Natalie gained her undergraduate degree from Robert Gordon University in 2005 and hopes to continue working in the area of cancer care as she looks to develop her area of practice. She explained: "Undertaking the Masters has allowed me to expand my knowledge base in nursing research, leadership and management. It has made me more confident in my own nursing practice and I have also gained an understanding of how to challenge and analyse the nursing practice of others. The skills and knowledge I have developed through the course are essential to my future career aspirations."

Amy Noble (24), who is originally from Shetland and is now based in Inverness as a staff nurse in the Acute Medical Assessment Unit at Raigmore Hospital, has been looking at ways of trying to reduce the number of readmissions of alcoholics into hospitals. Essentially, she has been working on the implementation of an alcohol assessment tool to her area of work and working with the mental health team on ways to provide ongoing optimal support and health care for at-risk adults. 

Amy said: "I am really looking forward to my graduation although I hope this is not the last time as I plan to study for my PhD with Robert Gordon University! Ultimately, I would like to use my qualifications to teach nursing students in the future. I have gained a lot from the course and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Masters to anyone interested in furthering their nursing studies."

In the early stages of the course, students are encouraged to link in with the managers in their area of practice to find out about any current issues and areas they could concentrate on developing. The students play a key role in re-assessing best practice and ensuring the future of their profession is moving in the right direction. 

Sheelagh Martindale, course leader, added: "We are so proud of what the students have achieved. Before the course started more than two years ago, we consulted our stakeholders to ask what was most important to them in terms of providing professional development to an increasingly all-graduate profession. The response was that there should be a strong practice element to our course and I think that this has worked out brilliantly. 

"The flexible nature of the course means that we have been able to work on a distance learning basis with talented nurses across the country and beyond. The ability of these students to develop innovative projects that are fit for purpose has been outstanding."