Interview with QMU Nursing graduate: John Hansen-Brevetti

By Press Office

New Yorker, John Hansen-Brevetti, 32, graduated with a BSc Nursing from Queen Margaret University in 2014.

In 2010, John began looking to change his career direction and undertake something more meaningful. He started reading job descriptions for nurses working in humanitarian crises and global health. At the same time, his mother told him about the incredible nurse-led care she received in the NHS. It was then he knew he wanted to study to be a nurse.

When deciding where to study nursing in the UK, John considered Scotland to have a fantastic reputation for medicine and medical research, and for nursing in particular. He also knew that “QMU has a reputation as one of the top nursing schools in Scotland”, and that its “students are known across Edinburgh hospitals as person-centred, prepared, and fluent in anatomy and physiology”.

John was also attracted by QMU’s focus on graduate-level scholarship, social justice, and international development, which are all values he was looking for as part of his training.

QMU’s friendly environment meant that John knew he would be getting a more personalised learning experience from highly qualified lecturers, as well as access to advanced training suites and Nursing Simulation Suite without having to compete with dozens of other students.

Studying Nursing at QMU

“For me, the best part of studying nursing at QMU was working in the Nursing Simulation Suite and soaking in the in-depth experience of the lecturers. The academic team has insights into health and care that you can’t get from a text book, which only come from years and years of experience.

“Working in the Nursing Simulation Suite with just four or five other students gave us the chance not only to become comfortable with skills before working with patients, but also to ask practical questions and learn from our lecturers’ first-hand knowledge.

“That said, very little of the course is spoon-fed to you by lecturers. For anyone interested in studying nursing at QMU, it’s important to know that it’s a rigorous programme in which you’re expected to direct your own learning, research, read, and come prepared.

“QMU develops nurses who can maintain their own knowledge and skills in a rapidly changing field, where long after graduating you’re still expected to learn, evaluate the latest evidence, and take responsibility for keeping your practice up to date. QMU achieves this by pushing you from day one to take ownership of your learning.”

Student life in Edinburgh

“I lived right on George IV Bridge, just steps from Edinburgh Castle, the Meadows, and the Royal Mile. Edinburgh is a fantastic city – small enough to walk everywhere, but full of great eating, massive film and theatre festivals, and history.

“Must-do’s in Edinburgh include the Scotch Whisky Experience Tour, a ghost tour or two, the Fringe Festival, Hogmanay, and a day trip out to the Highlands. All touristy, but each more delightful than the last.”

After Graduation

“After I graduated from QMU, I went on to study Health, Community and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. After receiving my master’s degree, I started working as a Registered Nurse with Marie Stopes International (MSI). I was promoted to Clinical Team Leader, and again to Clinical Operations Manager for one of MSI’s largest UK clinics.

“I now oversee a team of 12 nurses and 6 health care assistants, and manage the day-to-day operations of a busy family planning centre. I’ve thought about one day undertaking a PhD in nursing, but for the moment I’ve got my hands full!”

Notes to Editor

If you're a QMU graduate and have an interesting career story to tell, we're keen to hear from you. Please email

For further media information contact Lynne Russell, Marketing Manager, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E:  T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239 and Jon Perkins, Press and PR Officer, E: T: 0131 474 0000.

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