Call for nurs­ing de­gree to be brought to Fort Wil­liam

The Oban Times - - NEWS - EL­LIE FORBES eforbes@oban­

PEO­PLE in Fort Wil­liam are call­ing on the Uni­ver­sity of the High­lands and Is­lands to in­clude its Fort Wil­liam cam­pus in a new adult nurs­ing de­gree.

The Uni­ver­sity of the High­lands and Is­lands will take over the BSc adult nurs­ing pro­gramme from the Uni­ver­sity of Stir­ling in Septem­ber 2017 with the the­ory part of the de­gree be­ing de­liv­ered in In­ver­ness and Stornoway.

Po­ten­tial Fort Wil­liam stu­dents took to so­cial me­dia last week to ex­press their dis­ap­point­ment that they would not be able to study for the de­gree in their home town but would have to travel al­most 200 miles to Stornoway, or more than 60 miles to In­ver­ness.

Elaine Stod­dart, 33, a health care as­sis­tant at Tweedale med­i­cal prac­tice, Fort Wil­liam, posted about the is­sue on Face­book on Jan­uary 19 and more than 120 peo­ple com­mented to say they were in­ter­ested, or knew peo­ple who may be in­ter­ested in study­ing for the de­gree if they could do it at the Fort Wil­liam col­lege.

Elaine, who lives in Caol with her four young chil­dren aged be­tween three to nine, told The

Oban Times: ‘Nurs­ing is some­thing I have al­ways wanted to do, but it’s just not pos­si­ble with all the trav­el­ling that would be in­volved.’

Elaine asked UHI about the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing able to study at the Fort Wil­liam cam­pus and make use of Lochaber ser­vices for place­ments and was asked to feed back the level of de­mand for this. Cur­rently stu­dents from Stir­ling come to Fort Wil­liam on place­ment and Elaine and oth­ers ques­tioned why peo­ple who lived in the town could there­fore not study and do their place­ments here.

She con­tin­ued: ‘It would be so good for the whole area in terms of the econ­omy and all the peo­ple who want to do the course, but can’t travel, to have it in Fort Wil­liam. We should be mak­ing use of the lo­cal re­sources we have.

‘We have the Belford, GP prac­tices and dis­trict nurses.

‘I think the sup­port would be in place.

‘Peo­ple here are at a dis­ad­van­tage be­cause of where we live. Liv­ing in this area is bril­liant and peo­ple are hav­ing to move away to do what they want.

‘Peo­ple should be able to get the qual­i­fi­ca­tions they want when we have the uni­ver­sity here.’

Health care as­sis­tant in Bal­lachul­ish and mum of two Katy Pat­ter­son got in touch with

The Oban Times to say nurs­ing is some­thing she has been think­ing about do­ing since her dad was hurt in an ac­ci­dent five years ago.

Katy, whose chil­dren are two and five, said she would like to start study­ing once her youngest starts school: ‘ There just isn’t scope to do it round here just now. You have to travel so far, but it’s some­thing I want to do now.’

A spokesper­son for UHI said: ‘The Nurs­ing and Mid­wifery Coun­cil has given ap­proval for the the­o­ret­i­cal part of the pro­gramme to be de­liv­ered in In­ver­ness and Stornoway. Stu­dents will then un­der­take their prac­tice el­e­ments across the re­gion. This will con­tinue to in­clude, as it cur­rently does with Uni­ver­sity of Stir­ling, place­ments in Fort Wil­liam.

‘In the fu­ture, we in­tend to look at how we can best sup­port stu­dents/po­ten­tial fu­ture stu­dents who are dis­tant from the de­liv­ery cam­puses.’

Pho­to­graph: Abright­side Pho­tog­ra­phy.

Elaine Stod­dart with son Joey at the Fort Wil­liam cam­pus.

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