Interview with QMU postgraduate student, Alyson Key, Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing

By Press Office

Alyson Key is from Bathgate in West Lothian. She studied the Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing at QMU, as part of the Division of Nursing and Centre for Person-centered Practice Research.

Alyson left school in 2010 having decided to pursue a career in nursing. She initially studied at Edinburgh Napier University and completed a BSc Nursing with distinction in September 2013.

Her first post as a staff nurse was in a busy emergency department at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, West Lothian. In this role, Alyson was trained to triage patients whilst in the Accident & Emergency department. This meant she would have to rapidly assess a patient and make quick decisions about how long they could wait before being seen by a doctor or if their illness or injury could be managed by other professionals such as GPs or nurses.

Alyson gained a lot of experience leading a team to improve outcomes for patients. Alyson was also able to develop her interpersonal skills with patients and their families.

Why did you choose to study at QMU?

“I made the decision to apply for the specialist community practitioner course at QMU in 2015. I was aware of the changes that would be coming into place for Health Visitors across Scotland with the introduction of the Children and Young People’s Act 2014, and the role of the Named Person Scheme.

“I also knew that this would be a very exciting time for Health Visitors and was eager to progress my career, as well as have the opportunity to build relationships with her clients and improve outcomes for children.”


“This is a full time programme, so half of my time was spent out on placement in the community learning the role of a Health Visitor, so the workload at times felt overwhelming.

“There were six modules to complete within the year, so if you were not organised it was easy to fall behind. However, I received fantastic support from lecturers, practice teachers and peers that made my time at QMU an extremely positive experience.


“I was lucky enough to receive QMU’s best postgraduate nursing student award in 2016.”

Top tip?

“My top tip for future postgraduate students would be to give it all you have…you get out what you put in!”

Life after graduation?

“I’ve taken up a full time post as a Health Visitor in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, and have accepted a place to return to QMU in January 2017 to complete my MSc dissertation, focusing on early intervention to prevent childhood obesity.”

Postgraduate study opportunities

For more information on the range of postgraduate study opportunities offered by the Division of Nursing and Centre for Person-centered Practice Research at QMU, visit our website.

Notes to Editor

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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