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Winter Graduation is a family affair for two Western Isles nurses

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Seonaid and Fiona MacKay
Seonaid and Fiona MacKay

A mother and daughter were amongst some 125 graduates at the University of Stirling's Winter Ceremony in Inverness.

Seonaid MacKay and her daughter Fiona - both nurses from the Isle of Lewis - received degrees at the University's graduation ceremony at St. Andrew's Cathedral, Inverness.

The duo, who live in Coll, studied at the University's campus within the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway.

"It's lovely for us to be graduating together," said Seonaid, who graduated with a Master's in Health Research, adding to a BSc Hons completed in Stirling. She now works as a theatre nurse in Stornoway and has a background in general nursing, ophthalmic nursing and midwifery.

She added: "The University offers a flexible approach to learning and teaching which allows us both to work and study and access staff on the mainland via video conferencing.

"I am committed to lifelong learning and am delighted to have just commenced PhD studies to research the experiences of nurses working in remote and rural areas."

She shared the ceremony with daughter Fiona, 20, who completed a BSc in Nursing with merit. Fiona works as a community staff nurse in the East Community Team, based in Stornoway.

Fiona said: "It's been great studying at the same time as my mum. We have been able to help and support each other. I've followed my mum into nursing, and into studying with the University. The training I received in the Western Isles was excellent.

"I've also decided to continue my studies with the University - like mum - and have commenced a Master's in The Health and Wellbeing of the Older Person. This is a great opportunity for me, as the course is enabling me to study and gain experience in a clinical setting."

Seonaid was presented with the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) Research Society Marjorie Simpson New Researchers' Award in 2012, for her dissertation work. Following in her mother's footsteps, Fiona has received an Innovation in Education Award for a presentation she undertook to initiate a health care improvement.

Dr Annetta Smith, the Associate Head of School at Stirling's School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, said: "We are delighted that both Seonaid and Fiona have had the opportunity to continue with their studies at Stirling's Western Isles Campus. They not only have attained excellent results with the degrees they are graduating with but can - through their PhD and Master's work - make an important contribution to health and nursing knowledge in the Western Isles and beyond."

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