Florence Nightingale Foundation Students’ Day

Every year a Students’ Day is held in London by the Florence Nightingale Foundation to coincide with the Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service at Westminster Abbey. The Foundation invites universities with an undergraduate nursing degree programme to nominate two student nurses to attend. The day begins at St Thomas’ Hospital when students from across the UK have the opportunity to put questions on issues that are important to them to an invited panel.  After lunch, the students are given a tour of the Florence Nightingale Museum and the day concludes with the service in Westminster Abbey.

For the selection process students were invited to express their interest by submitting a short application detailing why they felt they should be selected and what they believed they would gain from the experience. Applications were reviewed by Maggie Carson, Undergraduate Programme Director. The two students selected were Amy McLean and Eva Horne.

Amy stated: “I think this would be a really good experience to reflect on the history of nursing and how the profession has progressed through the years. I would love to meet other student nurses from around the country, and to talk with them about the differences in our training and the healthcare systems where we are working. Additionally, I would like to learn more about the foundation and the work it has done. I would love to represent the university at this event!”

While Eva said: “I would very much appreciate if I might be considered.  As a student with an eagerness for learning, I feel like I could gain a lot from this experience and represent the University to a high standard. The panel discussions held will be beneficial to learn more about other students and of our shared experiences of nursing thus far. Interacting with nursing students from around the UK is something I feel I could do very well as a passionate and outgoing student. Attending the Florence Nightingale museum would be thought-provoking, especially in the aspect of how nursing has changed over the years. Learning more about her legacy before her commemoration at Westminster Abbey would be an inspirational event for every student nurse.”

The two students were also asked to write a reflection of their experience:

The student conference held in London consisted of an initial panel discussion with student nurses and midwives from around the UK and an expert panel of health professionals, followed by a guided tour of the Florence Nightingale Museum. The day was finished with a Commemoration of Florence Nightingale at Westminster Abbey.

The panel discussion covered some very pertinent issues concerning the future of Nursing and how we, as students, can influence and change our healthcare service for the better. The questions discussed with the professionals raised a variety of interesting topics, including how the NHS differs across each country in the UK even though we are “united”, issues with recruiting student nurses and midwives and problems with retaining qualified staff. The image of the nursing profession was also discussed in depth, with particular regard to recruitment and how a negative image can deter people from becoming nurses. Several male student nurses raised the issue of nursing being seen as a largely female profession, which sparked great conversation between the panel members and students.

It was an incredible opportunity to see how nursing programmes differ across the country and the shared experience of us as nursing students, up to this point in our careers. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting the students from a variety of universities as well as the thoroughly experienced panel who were more than happy to share stories from their time as students. Members of the Florence Nightingale Foundation then went into greater detail about the scholarships they offer and how they aim to continue influencing policy and future practice.

Visiting The Florence Nightingale Museum was a unique experience and gave a much greater insight into Florence’s earlier life and career, as well as her time in the Crimean war — which has undoubtedly influenced nursing and lead it to where it is today. We all gained a greater appreciation for nursing and the skills we all have gained throughout our training.

Later we were escorted to Westminster Abbey for the Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service. We were stunned by the number of people in attendance; the huge venue was filled. Prior to the service, all of the students were allowed entry to the Florence Nightingale and Nurses’ chapel — a tiny chapel hidden up a narrow set of stairs that you would not see unless brought to. We took a picture in front of a beautiful stained glass window which depicted a nurse reaching up to the Virgin and Child; the famous lamp is also present.

Students at Westminster Abbey with stained glass window for nurses

Amy McLean and Eva Horn at Westminster Abbey

The service itself was fantastic, and a number of speakers gave moving addresses describing their nursing experiences. The torch was passed from last year’s Florence Nightingale Scholar to this year’s. A roll of honour was carried through the Abbey that contained the names of all of the nurses that had died in World War II. This was particularly emotional, as we were encouraged to reflect upon the sacrifices of nurses who cared for injured soldiers.

The day left us feeling moved and inspired, and as though we could really be agents for change within the NHS. The weather was stunning and we managed to squeeze in some sightseeing. Overall, this was a fantastic experience and we are very grateful that we could be a part of this great event.

Celebrating the NHS at 70 with Nursing Students

Maggie Carson was at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh on Thursday 7thJuly 2018, in her role as Undergraduate Programme Director, to celebrate 70 years of the NHS with Morna, Sophie, India and Hannah, second year nursing students on surgical placement.

Lecturer & student nurses at the RIE

Maggie Carson at the RIE with second year nursing students Morna, Sophie, India and Hannah

When asked what celebrating the NHS at 70 meant to her, Sophie said “Nursing is a golden opportunity for me to give back. The NHS is such a special thing to be a part of, especially after 70 years!  It’s lovely to know that the small input I have as a student nurse, can make a difference and have a positive impact on others.”

They were later joined by some of the medical students, their Student Support Officer Neale and the EUSA President, Eleri, for tea and cake.

Students outside Chancellor's building

Maggie Carson with nursing and medical students

India highlighted the essential mentorship role that our clinical colleagues undertake in supporting our students: “Overall, my experiences as a student in the NHS have been highly positive and rewarding. The support and learning opportunities within the NHS are fundamental to the development of student nurses today. There are fabulous support mechanisms in place to ensure that students and staff are comfortable and confident in the wards.One major support mechanism for students is the mentorship programme. Qualified staff nurses partner up with students to provide support and establish action plans for the students learning. They integrate students into the multi-disciplinary team, illustrating the importance of holistic care provided by the NHS to patients. Physiotherapists, doctors, occupational therapists and other members of the multi-disciplinary team, all work closely with nurses. They also offer fanatic learning opportunities for nursing students, highlighting the importance of integration and team work in the NHS.”

Hannah recognises just how far the NHS has come in terms of technology: “Being a student nurse in the NHS today means working with diverse and highly skilled nurses alongside amazing technology. While on placement on a surgical ward I have been able to learn about the advanced surgical techniques used in laparoscopic cholecystectomy and ERCP as well as the post operative care. It has been great to learn from the highly skilled specialist nurses and other disciplines on the ward.”

Morna feels that “Working within the NHS as a student nurses allows you to understand the work that nurses, doctors, physiotherapists etc do daily. Without the multidisciplinary team working in unison the NHS would not function to the standard it is now. I have just finished a 7-week placement on an orthopaedic ward at the Royal Infirmary. Orthopaedics is a speciality where you can see the incredible work that each of the multidisciplinary team do for patients in their care. Each member of this team has a specific role in a patient’s journey to recovery, whether that would be operating on the patient or getting the patients back to mobilising. Without each speciality of orthopaedic doctors, nurses or physiotherapist, the patient’s recovery would not be as successful or as fast. Without each member of staff working within every hospital in the UK, the NHS would not be the reputable organisation is it today. Happy 70thNHS!”

Honorary degree for distinguished nurse academic

At the Graduation Ceremony on 3 July, Professor Tonks Fawcett presented Professor Alison J Tierney CBE for the degree of Doctor honoris causa.


Professor Tierney with the Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Mathieson, (left) Professor Fawcett (behind) and her husband, Dr Ian Tierney (right)

Alison was one of the UK’s early nurse graduates, completing the pioneering Integrated Degree/Nursing programme here at the University of Edinburgh, in 1971. At that time, Nursing was about to undergo a sea change in its philosophy and practice and Alison was a spearhead for this change.

Working initially as a staff nurse, Alison won a Scottish Home and Health Department research training fellowship and this led to her PhD in 1976.  By then she had joined the staff of Nursing Studies and, in 1980, with Nancy Roper and Win Logan, published the classic text, The Elements of Nursing. This innovative, new framework for nursing prioritised personalised care, communication and patient choice – a radical departure from the prevailing ‘task centred’ approach to nursing – and this model of care still fundamentally underpins today’s nursing practice.


Professor Tierney with the Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Mathieson, (left) Professor Fawcett (behind with other family members) and her husband, Dr Ian Tierney (right)

However, Alison’s main career focus was in research. At practice, programme and interdisciplinary levels, her contribution was profound, taking research into the very heart of nursing practice. In her 10-year period as Director of Scotland’s Nursing Research Unit, based at the University. Through research collaboration, mentorship and supervision, she inspired nurses and nursing students to embrace research and promote its impact. In 1995 this was recognised in her conferment as a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing. In 1997 she was promoted to a Personal Chair in Nursing Research at the University of Edinburgh. In 2002 she was awarded a CBE for services to nursing research and education.

Nationally and internationally, Alison has been a tireless advocate for nursing research through her work on many committees; as an Expert Advisor to the International Council of Nurses and, for nearly a decade, as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Advanced Nursing, raising the bar for standards of research publishing in nursing.

Prof A Tierney at lectern

Professor Tierney giving her acceptance response

In 2002, when Alison had worked here in the University for over 30 years, including a 4-year term as Head of Nursing Studies she decided it was time for new challenges. She took up a 3-year appointment as Professor and Head of Clinical Nursing at the University of Adelaide in South Australia.

Since returning to Edinburgh, Alison has held various roles which include: five years as a Non-Executive Director of NHS Lothian; Visiting Professor in places as far apart as King’s College London and Fudan in China; and consultancies to support Nursing Schools’ preparations for the 2014 and now the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

Nursing Studies Taekwondo champion!

When we moved to Scotland with my family in July 2017 we were began to look for family activities that we could do together. With my wife, Teresa, and three kids, Mary, Gordon and Evan (ages 9, 6 and 5), we took up Taekwondo with the Intrepid Taekwondo club in Inverkeithing. From our inception in July we moved from white belts and earned our yellow belts in February.

On June 3, 2018 Teresa and I competed in the Scottish National Taekwondo Championships at the Grangemouth sportsplex. This was our first Taekwondo competition. The competetion had two categories: patterns and sparing. Competitors for each category were further divided by belt level.  At the Championships I earned a second place finish in the patterns category and a first place finish in the sparring along side my wife, Teresa, who also earned a first place finish in the women’s sparring.

Andrew Waddington, MSc Advanced Nursing Practice

Coffee Round 2

This was the second ‘Coffee Rounds’ event hosted by University of Edinburgh nursing students to bring awareness to the Nursing Now campaign and to show support of nurses working ‘on the shop floor’. This event was held on June 1st at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh when we were fortunate to have Alex McMahon, Executive Director Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals and Professor Aisha Holloway, Head of Nursing Studies at the University of Edinburgh in attendance. Once again, it was amazing to see the smiles that were generated by the simple act of handing out a coffee. Jiayan Tang, MsC Advancing Nursing Practice student, reflects further on this experience:

I am so glad to attend the “Nursing Now” activity. We offered free coffee and chatted with nurses in the Western General Hospital. We expressed our gratitude for their hard work. At the same time, we also asked some questions, such as “What is the most challenging part of nursing” and “What is the most rewarding part of nursing”. Generally, when talking about the challenges, most nurses mentioned the time management, patients’ non-compliance, unrealistic expectation from patients and their families, the lack of staff, finances and resources, etc. Besides, they felt rewarding to see patients getting better and return to their normal life. Patients’ smile and appreciation can make them feel happy and empowered to continue their nursing work. Their answers can help policymakers know how to support nurses and raise the profile and status of nurses. In addition, people attending the activity were from many different countries, such as Canada, China, Ghana, etc. In this way, this activity provided me and other people w

ith different national background the opportunity to know the difference in nurses’ work, attitudes and opinions in different countries or working setting. Moreover, policymakers and nurses themselves can work together to lead, learn and build a global movement and then improve health globally.

TED and teas

From November to March MsC Advancing Nursing Practice Students met informally outside of class to regroup, reconnect and share challenges and innovations in nursing in our home countries.  To bridge conversation there was of course tea, but we would also start each session with a TED talk to provide inspiration and recall of practices undertaken at home.  We met six times and watch the following TEDs:

Yin Wang reflects on how the TED and Teas enhanced here learning experience while at the University of Edinburgh:

In the last two semesters, my colleagues and I gathered together to watch one TED about once a month, with a lot of delicious biscuits and teas. TED and Teas is an interesting and meaningful activity for me. So I want to show my gratitude to the organizer and the Nursing Department!

When I was in China, I usually used TED as a way to learn English and overlooked the content of it. I just watched it and wrote unfamiliar vocabularies down. But in TED and Teas, every time Andrew would choose a TED relating health care for us; after watching it, we would have a discussion about it. I learnt a lot from those TEDs and discussions and got new perspectives to reflect on nursing related issues, such as the nurse social statues, nursing education and so on. These issues are also closely connected with the courses I have taken, which are very helpful.

On the other hand, TED and teas also helped me to fit in the new environment. As an international student, at first, I felt nervous in face of different society and culture. However, in TED and teas, all of us had the opportunities to share the culture with each other. This activity is like a bridge for me to the new life. I am gradually familiar with my colleagues and receive support from them. For example, when I got some questions about the papers, they were always willing to help me.

TED and Teas is a platform where we discuss nursing, culture, our life and so on. I enjoyed the TED, teas, and all times spent with my colleagues.

Presenting at the Taiwan Scientific Symposium

It is always excited to present your work with audiences from different field. On 7thApril 2018, I presented my work at the Taiwan Scientific Symposium in Edinburgh, which was organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology. As it was my third time attending the symposium I thought it would be good to do something different this year. Therefore, I submitted an abstract and put myself forward to give an oral presentation. My doctoral study is about nurses’ fever knowledge and fever management and I have presented on this several times but this was my first time presenting in Mandarin. I felt nervous and excited at the same time.

The aim of the symposium was for researchers from Taiwan who are currently in the UK to present their studies and also to network, and learn about each other’s work. Researchers from different areas were given 12 minutes to introduce their study. The presenters all had different professional backgrounds, such as economics, physics, biology medicine, informatics and nursing (me!). It was a challenge to present to researchers from different backgrounds in such a short time. At the beginning of the symposium, everyone was asked to scan a QR code through each their mobile device. After scanning, a webpage would appear, which had a list of presenters, and all the audiences could vote for the best presentation on the day through the webpage. This made the presentation more stressful. I managed to complete the presentation in time followed by really nice discussion with the audience. To my delight I actually won the ‘best presentation’ award. I was so pleased and especially as I felt that I was representing Nursing Studies.

After my presentation, a few people came to asked questions about my research and we had a good discussion. I was glad that my study was discussed and noticed by people with different areas of expertise. It was one of my most amazing day’s in 2018.

Anny Chen, Doctoral Student, Nursing Studies

Visit by Deputy Chief Nurse in Public Health England

We were absolutely delighted recently to have an audience with Joanne Bosanquet, the Deputy Chief Nurse in Public Health England where we had the opportunity to hear her inspirational journey in her nursing career. A great mixture of undergraduate, master and PhD students attended the event and they all came from different parts of the world (Canada, China, Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and the UK).

We kicked off the event with some pre-talk tea, coffee, biscuits, rainbow fruit skewers and a couple of photos. Chaired by Professor Aisha Holloway, Joanne then started with her aspiration to be a nurse. She loves to be around people and she recalled when she was young she put a bandage on her teddies! Interestingly, when Joanne was about to apply for a nursing school, she was told that she’s not good enough to be a nurse. Joanne mentioned that it was difficult for her to hear those words, but she did not let them change her mind and took them as a challenge instead. It’s amazing to see how far she has come now.

Challenges should be seen as an opportunity to grow was Joanne’s strong take-home message here. She also highlighted the importance of being surrounded by positive people that we can ask for support and advice.

Joanne continued her story with the jobs that she had taken in different nursing fields before she finally found her passion for public health. We were very impressed with her wealth of experience and two hours passed by without we noticing it. In the end, Joanne reminded us that nurses have gained more responsibilities and autonomy in healthcare. Therefore, we must continue to grow as professionals and equip ourselves with leadership and advocacy skills.

Catherine Clarissa, Postgraduate Research Student, Nursing Studies

Anyone for coffee?

On March 8th 2018 I went to the  Royal Infirmary Edinburgh (RIE) along with seven of my colleagues engaged in graduate nursing studies at the University of Edinburgh to profile the launch of Nursing Now—a  global campaign aimed to raise the profile of nurses.  To embody the essence of the Nursing Now campaign, we graduate students went to  the nursing units at RIE to give nurses a gift of coffee as gesture of gratitude.Nursing Now RIE

One hundred and twenty cups of coffee were handed out on over sixteen nursing units!  It was amazing to see the response of the staff nurses when the we came around to hand out the coffees.  Many of them saw us coming and asked cynically “oh you brought us coffee?”  When we said,”yes we did, would you like one?” It was amazing, the nurses  body posture became relaxed and a smile stretched from ear to ear. “Really!” They respond,  “You shouldn’t have, that’s really very nice of you!” Many would said.  Some, were a bit more suspicious: “what’s the catch?”  “Nothing” we said, “we are nurses from different parts of the world doing our graduate work and we want to say thank you as nurses for the great work that you do.”  When we introduce ourselves as nurses, I think that opened the conversation. It seemed that nurses did not expect to be sought out specifically to be thanked, and it was apparent that they appreciated the gesture. Nursing Now RIE

To understand the challenges of nurses and to get an understanding of how nurses could support other nurse in their work we asked many nurses on our rounds “If you could change the world tomorrow as a nurse, what would you do?”  We documented the response as we went around (see photo attached). Common responses included “more staff” and  “better pay”, with variations in that theme being “just fill the positions we have,” and “can we show people what the actual cost of  health care is.”   Many nurses wanted  “to have more involvement in the resuscitation status of patients” and decisions around health care structure and delivery stating:  “involve nurses at all levels of decisions making.” Unique responses included “use Facebook,” and “support nurses working full scope” to “show patients care and most importantly, LOVE”. Nurses Wish List

What struck me about this experience was how committed nurses are to their work and their patients; and nurses want to get it right!  I am reassured that nurses will have the capacity and inspiration to be the leaders of the future.  By supporting each other,  I am certain we nurses will further find energy and capacity to create new directions in healthcare.

Andrew Waddington, RN from Calgary, Canada