Press Release

Student nurses energised by First Minister’s letter

Published on 9 December 2020

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to Nursing students at the University of Dundee to praise their hard work and dedication at the most testing time in the history of the NHS.

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two nurses talking in a corridor

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to Nursing students at the University of Dundee to praise their hard work and dedication at the most testing time in the history of the NHS.

Ms Sturgeon was responding to a letter from Carike Barnardo, Student President at the University’s School of Health Sciences inviting her to recognise the work that student nurses have been doing to support the health service since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Spring, more than 300 final-year nursing students at the University elected to graduate early and take up paid placements to join the global battle against COVID-19, while others volunteered to complete their Year 2 studies in practice in order to increase capacity as the NHS attempted to get to grips with the pandemic.

Addressing the 1400 students at the School of Health Sciences, the First Minister praised nursing students at Dundee, and across Scotland, saying, “This year the COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on us all, and we are extremely grateful to our highly skilled nursing students who stepped up in an hour of need. Your extraordinary hard work, dedication, skills and commitment helped pull our health service through an exceptional time.

“Some of your colleagues have now joined the workforce permanently, others of you have continued with your programmes and are working hard to complete your studies, and many of you have just started on this journey to become the health professionals that Scotland will need for the future.

“I know that it has been difficult, and that many of you have family or other caring responsibilities as well as your nursing programmes.

“No matter what stage you are at in your career the people of Scotland will always remember our nurses are the lifeblood of the health service, and every day you work towards helping others. That is something truly admirable, and I thank you for your hard work and dedication, and wish you well in your career.”

Ms Sturgeon’s letter also included praise from Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer, Fiona McQueen, who added, “I am very proud of the response of the nursing and midwifery professions and nursing support staff to this challenge. It has been truly exemplary and inspiring.”

The letter has been disseminated to students and shared widely on social media. Carike, a 3rd year Adult Nursing Student at the University, says the gesture has been greatly appreciated by her fellow students.

“Students and staff have been working so hard over the past year that they really deserved to be thanked and I thought there would be no better person for those thanks to come from than the First Minister,” said Carike.

“I thought it was worth a shot but, to be honest, I didn’t think we would get a reply due to the pressures of the pandemic so I was delighted to receive this lovely, heartfelt letter. It has gone down very, very well with the students. Many have commented that it has made them feel valued, energised and motivated.”

Dundee was ranked in the UK’s top 25 for Nursing in the most recent Complete University Guide, while the School of Health Sciences was inundated with emails praising the professionalism and performance of the students who moved into placements during the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis.

Enquiries

Grant Hill

Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 384768

G.Hill@dundee.ac.uk

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Public interest