Learning Disability Nursing with Tracey Gilhooley-Rutherford

Third year learning disability nursing student Tracey Gilhooley-Rutherford reflects on her experience of returning to education after some time away.

What inspired you to study nursing?

I had always wanted to be a nurse from a young age.  As a teenager I began to work with children and over the years this grew to include children’s centres, forensic services and latterly working with teenagers who had a learning disability diagnosis. After many years in the early years sector, I decided that I needed a change.  

What attracted you to Edinburgh Napier?Learning Disability Nursing student Tracey Gilhooley-Rutherford

I applied and was quickly invited for an interview.  What attracted me most was the provisions, not only those in the clinical skills but also the support services available. The whole university seems to be set up to help you succeed.  Lecturers were knowledgeable and friendly. 

What have been the highlights of your course so far?

The opportunities available for practical experiences, placements and skills labs have been the best. 

How have you found returning to academic study after some time away?

I needed to update my maths and biology qualifications before joining the course - the staff at Edinburgh Napier were amazing with support and information. 

I worried how I would balance home and university once I started my course, however there are support services to help and I found that I quickly settled into it. 

How have you found managing family life with study and shift work?

My family have been extremely supportive. They can see how happy I am and how much I am enjoying it. I try to set aside time for them, although if I have deadlines, I let them know. 

Do you have any advice for other mature students considering a career change into nursing?

Do it, it will be the best decision you ever make. Nursing has offered me so many opportunities and true job satisfaction. The university wants you to succeed so help is always on hand.