Meghan Tuohy, a postgraduate student at Queen Margaret University (QMU), won the QNIS academic prize at a ceremony in May. Here she walks about what the prize means to her and her plans for the future.
“To be given a QNIS prize for the work I did during my postgraduate community nursing course was a fantastic surprise. My colleagues and I worked very hard throughout the course and were delighted to have completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Practice: Health Visiting.
“My journey in nursing has always been community focused and as a young student I took part in community placements. I soon developed a passion for this area of nursing and directed my learning in this way. Since qualifying as a paediatric nurse I have gravitated to community based positions and when the opportunity came up to study as a health visitor I took it with great enthusiasm.
“As I come to the end of my first year of working as a Health Visitor I have been greatly influenced by my time at QMU. Learning, researching and collaborating with my colleagues and lecturers enabled me to gain a wide and varied insight into how person-centred ideals can be translated into everyday practice.
“Within Scottish healthcare there has been a shift towards focusing more directly on person-centred practice and how health can be enhanced within communities. Heath Visiting and public health as a whole have incorporated these ideals into everyday practice whereby we strive to treat families as individuals and support them to reach their full potential in the lives they lead. Working with families in their homes has been a privilege and something I hope to continue doing for many years to come.
“The Health Visiting service has changed since I began my training at QMU, as Health Visitors we see families more, are more visible within communities and are adopting principles of more individualised and personal care. Public health is increasingly becoming more person-focused as demand for the service increases and self-responsibility for one’s own health has been encouraged. This has been directed by ongoing and modern research which has shown that this approach leads to effective intervention for people using the service.
“Being chosen for this award is a great motivating factor in my continued study of person-centred care. I am currently studying for a Masters in person-centred practice at QMU along with working full time as a Health Visitor. My topic of interest is motherhood and how mothers’ sense of self can be altered by this time of great transition.
“By undertaking both the Postgraduate Certificate in Person-Centred Practice: Health Visiting and now my Masters dissertation I hope that my future practice will become more person centred and in doing so enhance the lives of the families that I support.”