Emma Hay-Higgins won the Post Graduate Prize for Robert Gordon University, and here tells us her story.
Receiving notification that I had won a Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland Postgraduate Award was a lovely surprise. It is a great honour to receive recognition for the work and learning undertaken as part of my Specialist Public Health Nursing studies, especially alongside the wonderfully committed and compassionate nurses who achieved their qualification with me. My journey into Health Visiting has probably followed a less traditional path, having had fewer years of nursing experience to draw upon prior to commencing the course. I thoroughly enjoyed my community placements as a student nurse. I am grateful to have received encouragement to develop my practice in this growing area by some fantastic and inspirational community practitioners. I had the opportunity, following the completion of my undergraduate nursing degree, to go on and complete a Masters in Nursing in Clinical Research. My Masters’ degree helped me reflect upon the need to take a critical and questioning approach to my learning. It also instilled in me a strong desire to encourage evidence-based service improvement, alongside recognition of the benefits of effective clinical leadership in tackling inequalities, and building upon and progressing contemporary nursing practice. These are passions I am eager to continue to develop, through further learning and collaboration, as I gain confidence and experience in my nursing career.
In Scotland, there is increasing recognition for the role specialist Community Public Health Nurses have in supporting families and children in the foundational early years. Increased public funding enabled me to gain a partially supported place on a Health Visiting course following on from my Masters’ degree. Throughout my course, and as part of my role, I have the opportunity to work, and crucially learn, in partnership with families to explore and consider how interrelated individual, societal, environmental and relationship factors influence health and wellbeing. Having the privilege to meet and develop relationships with children and families, in a vast array of circumstances, is central to my enjoyment of community nursing. It is very worthwhile being able to contribute, as part of the team, to develop skills, knowledge and resilience whilst engaging with communities to improve outcomes and support public health improvement.
Winning a QNIS postgraduate award, just as I begin consolidating my Health Visitor training, is a great motivator. It encourages me to focus on continually developing my practice, as I aim to offer a progressive and respectful, person-centred service. The ongoing opportunities to collaborate on a professional, practical and personal level, with like-minded individuals, and organisations, in a challenging yet exciting healthcare climate is a challenge I look forward to meeting.
Post Graduate QNIS Prizewinner
Robert Gordon University