QNIS Postgraduate Prizewinner from the University of Stirling Bethan Murdoch tells us about her experience as a health visitor.
Receiving notification that I had won the QNIS Postgraduate Community Nursing Prize I have to be honest, and admit, I laughed, how on earth had that happened! I had not had an easy year to say the least, and at times did think I would be lucky to scrape a pass, but here I am the receiving an award for my academic performance.
Having completed the first year of the Msc of Early Years (Health Visiting) I was left with the decision whether or not to complete the dissertation module to gain a Masters Degree or graduate with a postgraduate diploma. To make matters more complicated I only had two months until I went on maternity leave. I wanted to complete the dissertation whilst I was still in ‘study mode’ but was I setting myself up for a fail trying to do it with a newborn?
Having made the decision to complete the dissertation module I quickly decided what the focus of my dissertation would be, and set about researching the best way to answer my questions. I picked a subject I was passionate about which made the days studying with a newborn easier. I had a very supportive personal tutor who is passionate about academia, Health Visiting and improving practice, she pushed me to be better. Her passion was infectious; she made me passionate about what I was studying even on the days where 12000 words felt like millions.
During the year I was studying for my Masters degree I gave birth to my son and lost two close family members. There were times when I seriously considered taking a year break, but in my heart I knew if I did that I wouldn’t go back to complete the course. Without the support of my family, friends and the University of Stirling I wouldn’t have finished the course.
Completing my Masters Degree has made me want to learn more and research more. As a nurse, and now as a Health Visitor I want to be the best that I can be, provide the best care that I can provide but also to help the trainees coming behind me. There are more and more nurses studying toward a Masters Degree which is just fantastic, we are aiming for greater heights and in turn better care. The best way to change or improve the service we provide is to become more knowledgeable in our areas. Sometimes you may think you cannot achieve this but I assure you with hard work you can.
Receiving the QNIS award is a great honour, to receive such recognition for the hard work undertaken in order to complete the Masters of Early Years has just reinforced my drive to learn, however it is important to acknowledge those that I studied beside and under. Without them I wouldn’t have been eligible to receive the award. Next time a colleague informs me they are studying for a course I will be sure to offer support, even if it is just providing them with a bit of encouragement, it all helps.
Bethan Murdoch won the QNIS Postgraduate Prize from the University of Stirling.