Nurse and Clinical Doctorate graduand
I’m really proud to have completed the doctorate – now I just need to complete this final challenge!
She said: “The idea began as a bit of a joke – at the start, the doctorate seemed like such a huge undertaking that I said to my classmates, if I ever manage to get through this I’m going to walk to my graduation – and it just stuck!”
Although an experienced walker who has bagged almost all of Scotland’s Munros, Helen, who works at Aultbea and Gairloch Medical Centre, admits the walk will be a huge challenge.
She said: “Doing such a long journey in November has taken a lot of thinking about. The days are so short and there are a number of river crossings on the way, so I have had to take the planning seriously.”
Setting off from her home near Poolewe on Monday 13 November, Helen has carefully planned her journey, following ancient routes through the mountains in order to keep herself protected from potential bad weather.
“I’m keeping low level, sneaking through the mountains, over the old passes,” she said. “Highlanders used these paths for hundreds of years to drive their cattle down to Falkirk, but next to nobody uses them these days.
“I’ve done a lot of research to keep the weight of my kit down, as I’ll be camping for the first five days or so, and there’s a lot to carry.”
Despite the miles ahead of her, Helen is looking forward to attending her first ever graduation ceremony.
She said: “This will be my fourth degree, but I’ve never actually attended a graduation ceremony before – this is my first one.
“My colleagues think I’m a bit crazy!"
“I’m most looking forward to the thinking time. It is a challenge. It sounds airy-fairy, but I do think the solo trek will represent my journey through seven years of study. It will give the opportunity for a long unwind, and a chance to reflect on the fact I’ve actually done it and completed the course.”
Helen will trek over 10 days finally arriving in Stirling to meet her husband on Thursday 23 November, the afternoon before her graduation day.
“My colleagues think I’m a bit crazy!”, Helen added. “But they know I’m taking it seriously. I’m really proud to have completed the doctorate – now I just need to complete this final challenge!”
The Clinical Doctorate, delivered by the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport at the University of Stirling, is a practice focused course aimed at nurses, midwives, paramedics and allied health professionals who can work full time and study part time, and prepares students for leadership roles in the healthcare sector wherever they are in the world.
Helen’s supervisor at the University, Professor Karen Watchman, said: “It has been a privilege working alongside Helen as she progressed through the Clinical Doctorate programme at Stirling. She is showing the same determination in completing this walk as she did throughout her studies.
“We are all proud of her achievements and this is an amazing, if not slightly unusual, way to celebrate completion! I am looking forward to seeing Helen end her walk by stepping onto the graduation stage.”
Interested in the Clinical Doctorate?
For further information about taking a Clinical Doctorate at Stirling please contact Programme Director Dr Kath Stoddart: firstname.lastname@example.org