Kara McMahon from Markethill in Co Armagh, graduates today with a BSc Honours in Nursing (Adult).
It has been three years of hard work for Kara,that has seen her overcome difficulty with a stammer to not only graduate but also become a coach to help people overcome their stammer problems as well.
The pronounced stammer affected her ability to communicate with lecturers, fellow students and vitally patients and family members as well as other nurses and health care professionals.
Kara, who now works as a cardiac nurse at Kings College Hospital in London, said that she was grateful for a language therapy programme that helped her on her way to success.
“When I first started University I had a very bad stammer and then I started on the McGuire Programme. It helps with technique in taking a breath and holding it just before talking and rehearsing so that it takes away the fear of having a stammer and helps improve speech,” she said.
Kara benefited so much from that she then trained to become a coach in the McGuire Programme and help those who have been in her position.
“Within each course there are about 12 students who can call me when they need help or advice. It also helps me practice my technique in speaking by teaching others.”
The McGuire Programme, whose most high profile participant is music star Gareth Gates, is an intensive programme encouraging eloquent speech and personal development.
Deborah Goode, lecturer in the School of Nursing, said that Kara’s achievements are indicative of her hard work and talents in nursing. She said: “Kara was so motivated and dedicated to become a nurse. To help with her communication she undertook the McGuire program for stammering. It was at that time not available on the NHS and she had to fund her place and accommodation. Student support at the University of Ulster gave her some financial assistance to complete the Maguire programme. Kara successfully completed the course and the difference in her speech is amazing.
“Throughout her three year course the emphasis on communication increased. As you will know one of the central tenets of nursing is the ability to communicate in many forms. Kara has not shied away from participating in any aspect of the course which gains my admiration and respect. In her classes she always answers questions and participate in group work and presentations despite difficulties in sometimes expressing what she means. My colleagues in nursing are very impressed with her. In clinical areas she has achieved clinical grades of outstanding.”
A gallery of images from the 2010 Winter Graduation ceremonies can be viewed at: