“I am very proud of my dedicated and talented colleagues here at the University of Stirling who – along with almost 400 of our students – have volunteered to support the NHS and Scottish Ambulance Service at this difficult time. Their response will make a real difference and play an important role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of patients.
“I know our entire University community will join me in thanking our staff and students for their phenomenal response – and wish them all the best as they join the frontline.”
Lecturer Dr Dawn Cameron, a trained nurse and midwife, said: “I want to offer my clinical skills and expertise at this time of crisis. I think we’re all concerned, given these uncertain times, but I feel I will gain comfort from being able to contribute.”
Stirling graduate Ela Hamer, who has recently returned to the University as a Lecturer in Mental Health, said: “It was a relief when I found out the University was offering the opportunity to return to practice – and I am delighted that I am able to continue to support the NHS, whilst also providing support for students out in practice during these difficult circumstances.”
Paramedic Christopher Aitchison joined the University just a few weeks ago, to lecture on Stirling’s new BSc Paramedic Science. He said: “I think my skills and expertise could be useful to colleagues at this time – and I’m grateful to the University for allowing this to happen. I have indicated that I could offer clinical support as a paramedic to my Scottish Ambulance Service colleagues and to the people of my community. Although a small contribution, I hope it helps.”
Hoping to return to NHS Fife to provide support at this challenging time, Gwen Drysdale, a Lecturer, said: “I have chosen to return to practice because you can’t take the nurse out of the person – it is a privilege to provide care to people when they need it, and to help your fellow nurses.
“I would like to put my skills to use and feel ready to support the NHS.”
Professor Angela Wallace, Director of Nursing, NHS Forth Valley, said: “We really appreciate the support of local university staff and it's great to see so many individuals volunteering to return to the frontline to work alongside their NHS colleagues at this challenging time.”
Politicians at the Scottish Parliament have praised the response of University staff and students to the crisis. In a motion tabled at Holyrood, Keith Brown MSP asked Parliament to recognise the Stirling nurses’ “commitment to serving their communities and their dedication to tackle the biggest challenge that people have faced in their lifetimes”. He added that they were an “inspiring example of the dedication and public service shown by NHS workers across Scotland” and would “make a significant contribution to nationwide efforts with NHS colleagues”.
Bruce Crawford MSP echoed those words in a second motion – expressing gratitude to all of those on the frontline across NHS Forth Valley, including those volunteers from the University – and Dean Lockhart MSP in a third.
Staff and students joining the NHS frontline is just one area in which the University is lending its support to the COVID-19 response. Last week, it was announced that the University will lead 10 new COVID-19 research projects – totalling almost £500,000 – funded by the Scottish Government. The projects – led by scientists from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport and the Faculty of Social Sciences – will consider the impact of the virus on vulnerable children and young people across Scotland; carers and support workers; people with an alcohol or drugs dependency; those experiencing homelessness; older adults; and licensed premises.
In recent weeks, the University has loaned beds to Scotland’s new temporary hospital facility; donated 3D printers to aid the production of personal protective equipment; its experts have been delivering potentially life-saving advice to social workers tackling the pandemic; students have been offering educational support to school pupils and parents in the absence of classes; and Stirling Sports Union clubs have raised hundreds of pounds for the United Nations Foundation.
Find out more about our staff and what they feel about returning to the frontline to support the COVID-19 pandemic response.