Nursing students in Islands receive Royal welcome

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HRH The Princess Royal visited Stornoway and Inverness today (Monday 25 September) to welcome the University of the Highlands and Islands’ first ever intake of nursing students.

Acting in her role as chancellor of the university, HRH The Princess Royal toured the Western Isles Hospital and the Centre for Health Science, spoke to students and presented each of them with a commemorative pen.

She ended her visits by giving an address, announcing plans to introduce a Chancellor’s Nursing Award to recognise excellence in the nursing cohort.

The Royal visit was organised following the successful transfer of the pre-registration nurse education programmes for BSc mental health nursing and BSc adult nursing from the University of Stirling to the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The development is part of the University of the Highlands and Islands’ wider plans to develop its School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences.

Speaking at the event, Professor Clive Mulholland, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “It is a considerable achievement to welcome our first cohort of nursing students today, one year after we received approval from the Nursing and Midwifery Council for the transfer to happen. I would like to thank the staff from both universities who worked so hard to make this possible.

“The transfer has been a vital component in the development of our School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences, helping us to generate over £30m of inward investment across our partnership.

“The school has blossomed over the past year with the development of teaching and research in allied health and social care; sport and wellbeing; rural health and wellbeing; and biomedical science.

“Operating across our college and university partnership, our school will help to provide better access to services and improved outcomes for residents across the Highlands and Islands.”

Heidi May, director of nursing for NHS Highland, said: “It’s fantastic to see the first group of students begin their nursing journey at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

“Nursing is a wonderful and very satisfying career. I am certain they will flourish in their chosen vocation and look forward to working with them in the coming years.”

Neil R Galbraith, Chair of NHS Western Isles, said: “The NHS Western Isles Board is delighted to welcome the first intake of nursing students to its main hospital under the aegis of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

“This new higher education arrangement provides continuity in our aim as a health service of encouraging young people to embark on an immensely satisfying and rewarding career in their home area.

“The attendance of the Princess Royal at this time of new beginnings is a significant endorsement of both the nursing profession and university provision. We wish all success to the new intake of students.”

Chris Anne Campbell, nurse director at NHS Western Isles, said: “It is really heartening to see that pre-registration nurse education will continue to be provided in the Western Isles through the University of the Highlands and Islands. I am sure that this will encourage more students to be educated and remain as nurses locally, where their care and compassion will be so valued.”