Joe Garzia

MSc Advancing Practice


Why did you decide to study a postgraduate course?

I am a strong believer of the 'it's never late to learn' concept. At 50 I graduated with a BSc (Hons) Health Science and felt I had to proceed to a postgraduate degree. At this level, you are taught to master your field. I always wanted to advance my knowledge in my specialty, Gastroenterology for this subject has been my career for over 30 years. As a visiting lecturer myself and mentor, I felt that such an advanced knowledge would give me more confidence to clinically supervise my students.

What attracted you to Stirling?

My BSc supervisor encouraged me to take advance practice to another level and the University of Stirling was one of the few universities that could offer this subject in a professional level. Stirling carries quite a reputable record in the academic world and it is one of the top universities in Europe. It encourages students to learn innovatively. The fact that they acknowledged my accumulated knowledge and experience was important for me as well. I am very happy that I chose Stirling for this venture.

What did you enjoy most about your time at the University of Stirling?

Though a distance learning student I was always made to feel as a resident one, and lecturers and course co-ordinators were extremely helpful and available at all times. I was always given all due attention and support. Interaction through podcasts and Skype with fellow students and lecturers was always something to look forward to. Access to the virtual library and its many resources facilitated my study.

Which aspects of the programme did you enjoy the most?

The fact that I could work around my study, family and work schedule easily was probably the biggest advantage, however, I also appreciated the opportunity I had of studying modules inline with my specialisation. I was encouraged to expand my knowledge within my field, to open up and bring out the clinical experience while developing the subject further through discussions and research. This was what I wished for before I started and this was what I was learning.

Do you think the degree has made you more employable, or better prepared for further study? If yes, what are the key skills? What contacts/networks have you made in your time at Stirling?

A postgraduate degree, particularly in a specialty like mine, is another strong consolidating factor in a CV. It’s an added asset when one is seeking a new job opportunity or a higher post. It helped me become the first Practice Nurse in Gastroenterology in my country and that has been more than just a promotion for me.

What advice would you give a student considering studying at Stirling?

Go for it. Do it to expand your repertoire of knowledge and to be able to master your profession. Learning should be an enjoyable venture, and the guidance at Stirling will surely make it a pleasant one. Stirling will open doors for you which others would probably shut.