Emma recognised at graduation with special award

By Press Office

A new graduate from Greenlaw in the Borders has been recognised by Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh for her hard work and selfless dedication to others.

This week, Emma Hay, aged 23, from Churchhill, Greenlaw graduated from QMU with a BSc (Hons) Nursing. Her incredible efforts throughout her degree journey were recognised by the Queen Margaret University Graduates’ Association which presented her with the Atholl Crescent Award, which is named after the institution’s first location in Edinburgh.

This special award is presented once a year to a new graduate who has successfully completed their degree despite having to overcome personal challenges and deal with competing priorities.

Emma had a very difficult final year of study as she juggled caring responsibilities for her family with full time study and a work placement. Emma is a carer for her grandmother, but during her 4th year at University, her dad had also become very unwell. her grandfather had two strokes and her other granddad was recovering from cancer.

Emma said: “There was a lot of additional stress during my last year of study. I had been working really hard and performing well, but with everything that was going on, I realised I needed a little bit of help and flexibility. The Nursing staff at QMU were very supportive and allowed me to have extensions to deadlines for my submissions.

“I really loved QMU, particularly because the class was small – just 33 students – which meant we got lots of individual attention. I had a lot of lecturers pushing me forward to do things, which was good. I was given great opportunities to develop my skills and knowledge and to experience the delivery of healthcare abroad.”

She continued: “The Principal of QMU, Professor Petra Wend, set up the Vice Chancellor’s International Travel Fund to help students benefit from international opportunities which are related to their area of study. During one of my summer holidays I was supported by her Fund to travel to Africa where I taught first aid. The following summer, I was lucky enough to gain the Hazel McCallum Award which allowed me to go on a nursing placement to Nepal. This involved three weeks work experience in a hospital and one week in a village health centre. My experience in Africa and Nepal was unreal. Learning and gaining hands-on work experience in these very different environments really helped me grow in confidence.”

Like many graduates of QMU, the talented Emma had already secured a job in her profession before even reaching her graduation date. She is now working as a staff nurse in the Infectious Diseases Unit at the Western General Hospital.

Lesley McKinlay, Programme Leader and Lecturer in the Division of Nursing at QMU, put Emma forward for the Atholl Crescent Award. She said: “I am absolutely delighted that Emma’s exceptional drive and determination have been recognised. She is an outstanding student who is not only dedicated to her developing role as a nurse, but who has demonstrated her ability to successfully juggle multiple priorities. She has also made use of opportunities that were presented to her at QMU which have undoubtedly strengthened her skills and understanding of healthcare. She is an inspiration to staff and students, and an excellent example as to what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.”




Queen Margaret University widely recognised expertise in its flagship areas of Health & Rehabilitation; Sustainable Business and Creativity & Culture. 

For further media information please contact:

Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E: lrussell@qmu.ac.uk, T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239, or Jonathan Perkins, Press and PR Officer, E: jperkins@qmu.ac.uk, T: 0131 474 0000

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