Like many nurses, Cathy was traditionally trained in the hospital. This meant that she did not have a primary degree which in recent years has become a requirement for most nursing positions, and as a result, she was unable to further her career progression aspirations.
Cathy took the decision to return to education while working full time and managing a busy home with three children. She admits this was difficult, however years of frustration at not being able to apply for promotion gave her the motivation to succeed.
“When I decided to study at Ulster University I made myself a promise that I would graduate before my eldest son, and I’m truly delighted to be able to fulfil that dream albeit one day before my son Tom graduates. Balancing work and family life with studying was difficult at times and I was devastated when my beloved mother passed away just before the course began, but I was determined to complete my degree and further my career. I hope I’ve made my mum and my kids proud of me.”
Prior to completing her degree, Cathy had no university experience but admits that returning to education was the best decision she ever made.
“I loved the course as it was not only academic but also very practical. It looked at different elements of nursing and how then I could apply these to my day to day activities to help improve my current skill set. I have learned so much which has enhanced my practice.
“Completing my degree has changed my life in so many ways and it has shaped me into the person that I am today. I received great support from the university staff who have become friends for life.”
Cathy is now looking towards the future and taking the next steps in her career.
“This degree was a great opportunity to build on my experience and has opened so many doors professionally for me. I’m excited for the future! Not only can I now apply for promotions but there are lots more courses I can also avail of. The opportunities are endless!”