Stop press! Nursing graduate David is out to make an impression

Printer returns to the university to launch a new career

Date posted

2 November 2018


A former printer has gone back to his old place of learning to begin a career in nursing at the age of 50.

David Easton with his degree scroll and printed badge with the phrase 'staff nurse'

David Easton worked for a number of firms after doing a City & Guilds qualification in printing at the then Napier College for three years in the eighties.

However, he was forced to rethink his career plans after being made redundant three times, once on Christmas Eve.

A decade on, he has got a significant amount of hospital experience under his belt and has successfully completed a Bachelor of Nursing (Adult) degree at what is now Edinburgh Napier University.

And as he celebrated with classmates after Thursday’s graduation ceremony at the Usher Hall, he was looking forward to his first role as a staff nurse in a hospital endoscopy unit.

Dad-of-two David, of Lasswade, Midlothian, said: “I am really looking forward to the challenge. I had always thought nursing would be an enjoyable career because of the way you are helping people caught up in what can be distressing situations.

“Male nursing was not a popular choice of career when I first left school, although I was always involved with first aid in my role as a printer when there were workplace accidents.

“However, I am proud of the way I fitted in on wards and progressed through to university, which was on a different scale compared to my Napier College days, even though I was miles out of my comfort zone among students half my age.”

David, who will be 50 later this month, worked with Lumsden Bookbinders and MacDonald Printers, and helped transform the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre’s weekly paper into a full colour title. 

David Easton with the late Brenda Dean, leader of the print union SOGAT

He also had stints at the Scottish County Press, Johnston Press in Falkirk, Summerhall Press in Edinburgh and Scotprint at Haddington.

However, the rapid decline of the print trade meant he had to pursue fresh challenges.

He said: “My last days in the industry were spent in a variety of large and small companies that were struggling to keep their heads above water and it was evident that the strain was affecting people, both physically and mentally.”

David had been hugely impressed by the healthcare staff who guided his partner through a difficult second pregnancy and a separate serious illness, and after completing a variety of different courses following the 2008 financial slump, eventually chose nursing as his next career.

He started at Liberton Hospital, completed an HNC and progressed to a Bachelor of Nursing degree at Edinburgh Napier.

He said: “University has taught me the fundamental qualities you need to care for people. The facilities at Edinburgh Napier’s Sighthill campus were first class, and the lecturers sometimes amazed me with their knowledge.   

“The process has prepared me for working in many different hospital environments and with many different types of character.

“Hopefully, I now have a career which will see me through to retirement and allow me to provide for my family’s future.”

Ailsa Sharp, the university’s Programme Leader for Pre-Registration Nursing, said: “David’s success highlights the potential in nursing for developing your career in a variety of roles.

“Having mature students on the programme, sharing life experience, knowledge and skills with other students, enhances the student experience and helps develop compassionate, caring professionals.”

School of Health & Social Care

The UK’s envied healthcare model, Scotland’s strong reputation for health training and our research-active academics makes Edinburgh Napier the ideal place to study, no matter where you are based.