Interview with QMU Nursing graduate: Norman Todd
Norman Todd, 44, is a single parent from Ullapool in Ross-shire. He attended Ullapool High School and has a BSc and MSc in Nursing from QMU.
Norman left school at the age of 16 with few qualifications and no academic aspirations. He began his working life as a deep sea fisherman off the north coast of Scotland, but decided to change his career path and move into nursing in 1999. The fishing industry was in decline and it was getting harder to make a decent living. He was spending 10 days at sea and getting only four days at home.
When he was 26, Norman signed up to an access to higher education course at Telford College (now Edinburgh College) in Edinburgh. He had decided that an access course was the best option for him as a mature adult learner. He felt it was a tough challenge, having being out of academia for a decade, but he really enjoyed studying and developing new life skills, which he still uses to this day. The experience provided him with an excellent grounding to go on to study at university and as a result was accepted to study Nursing at QMU.
Norman chose to study at QMU due to its reputation for delivering a high quality nursing undergraduate course. Moving to Edinburgh from the Highlands of Scotland was also an easy choice - the vibrancy and culture of Edinburgh was a big draw for him. He feels that Edinburgh is the “perfect student city with so many sporting and leisure activities on offer."
Studying Nursing at QMU
“I did have a fear that the academic work would be beyond me, but I was committed with a strong work ethic. The academic work became easier and really interesting. I enjoyed every clinical placement, giving me the opportunity to apply the theory into practice.
“With good mentorship on placements and in the University, I feel that I developed a professional approach to nursing.”
“The best advice I’d give to any students interested in studying nursing at QMU is not to leave assignments late, enjoy the learning and to put good care at the centre of all of the clinical placements.
“If you need help, then ask for it early on and ensure that when your work is done that you enjoy the other social and recreation facilities on offer at QMU and in Edinburgh.”
“After graduating, I gained a lot of clinical experience working in acute medical admissions, rehabilitation and urology at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.
“I then decided to continue developing my knowledge and I went back to QMU in 2007 to study MSc Nursing over three years. It was hard doing this whilst working, but I felt that my practice matured as I progressed through the course. At this point I was working as a urology nurse specialist at the Western General Hospital and the MSc positively influenced my clinical decision making, critical thinking, case management and professional approach.
“I made another career change in 2010, when I went to work in the oil and gas sector as an offshore medic for Centrica in the East Irish Sea. It’s an autonomous job where healthcare is delivered in a hostile environment to a population with unique needs. It’s been a fantastic experience for me and I’m fortunate to work for a company which has recognised my academic ambition and has given me the training and development to have a new role as the offshore health, safety and environmental advisor.
“I’m currently undertaking a BSc in Occupational Health at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. I expect to complete this in 2017, and then it is my intention to study another MSc in Safety and Risk Management at Heriot Watt University. I also have a long-term ambition to undertake a PhD, which will examine the relationship between workplace culture and process safety.
“QMU has given me a thirst for life-long learning. I‘ve had a wonderful career which wouldn’t have been possible without having a firm academic basis, confidence and ambition that I gained from my undergraduate years.”
Notes to Editor
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