Student Name: Alasdair Pithie

Course: BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing (4 years full-time)

Hometown: Edinburgh

Award/Scholarship/ Bursary: Award for Excellence in Research (undergraduate) 

About You

How did you come to choose the course and why QMU?

I wanted to be a nurse for a very long time. When I was young I helped look after my gran when she had Alzheimer’s. She particularly seemed to trust me and we had a very special relationship. After she passed away, my passion for caring was still there. In high school I had the opportunity to do ward experience in hospital and I was allowed to shadow the nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. It was this experience that ignited my passion for nursing.

Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?

I wanted to stay in Edinburgh to study and I chose QMU as it offered a four year honours nursing programme. One of the most attractive features of QMU is that it had relatively small class sizes – about 40 students in the nursing year group. I felt that this would allow me to make friends easily and to build a rapport with the teaching staff. The great thing about QMU is that you are more than just a number. It is easy to become part of the community, to contribute to the student community, and to develop relations with students as well as support and teaching staff.

Living Away from Home

Life in Edinburgh - what was the best experience you had in Edinburgh? Are there any hidden ‘gems’ you’d like to share?

I continued to live at home throughout my four years of study.

I’ve spent my whole life living in Edinburgh and think it’s a fantastic city for students. It has much to offer culturally and has great bars and interesting societies Students can join societies and clubs at their own university or at any of the other universities. That means there is literally something for everyone.

 

"I really enjoyed the modules ‘Enquiry Based Learning’ and ‘Problem-Based Learning’. These allowed us to look at the case studies of fictional patients and explore the various medical conditions that were affecting them. It made us consider how we would approach the situation, adapt our care if necessary, and educate the patient about their condition and future prospects."
Alasdair Pithie

The Course

Did you attend an Open Day? If so, was there any aspect of the University which made up your mind for you?

I came to the University’s Open Day and had the opportunity to speak face-to-face with the nursing staff and see the specialists nursing facilities. I also did a campus tour which was led by a student.

What was the most interesting part of the course, in terms of something you learned or a particular activity?

I really enjoyed the modules ‘Enquiry Based Learning’ and ‘Problem-Based Learning’. These allowed us to look at the case studies of fictional patients and explore the various medical conditions that were affecting them. It made us consider how we would approach the situation, adapt our care if necessary, and educate the patient about their condition and future prospects. This involved role play, group work and individual presentations. We would also challenge each other’s ideas and preconceptions. 

Can you give an outline as to why you received this award/bursary/scholarship?

I received an award for my dissertation as it was considered to be the most innovative project proposal of the year group. It focused on how music might be used to reduce anxiety in patients living with dementia. The dissertation was of interest to Professor Brendan McCormack, Head of the Division of Nursing, who then offered me a short term research position within QMU.

How did your award/scholarship/bursary help you with your studies?

My dissertation into music and dementia was recognised at the ENTER conference with the award, and this has led to new opportunities. It’s taken me in a direction I initially hadn’t considered. I have a new found passion for research. The award has given me the confidence to pursue to PhD level how music can be used to improve care in patients living with dementia.

Any advice for students who might be interested in this course?

Always be open to opportunities. I initially didn’t think I was good at research but surprisingly, my career has taken a research path and I intend to explore it fully. So, always keep an open mind. 

Beyond Graduation

Tell us what happened immediately after you graduated.

As soon as I graduated I began work within QMU’s Division of Nursing as Research Assistant. This has allowed me to engage with a wide range of staff on a daily basis and expand my knowledge of research. As part of my position I’ve had the opportunity to teach undergraduate students and paramedics. I also presented my dissertation proposal at the ENTER (nursing) conference at QMU. Following my presentation at the ENTER conference, I was offered a PhD opportunity in Glasgow.

Are you currently working? If so please give a brief outline of your job. If not, what are your plans?

I am currently working at QMU in a research post within the Division of Nursing.

Would you consider further study?

I hope to go on to study at PhD.

 

Story published 2016-2017