A Donegal couple has successfully raised funds to award two NUI Galway nursing students with the inaugural Victoria Thompson Scholarships.
The scholarships were awarded to two students, including a woman from Letterkenny, who are studying the new Masters in Children’s Palliative and Complex Care at the University.
The School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway hosted the inaugural launch on Tuesday the 14 March. Comedian and TV presenter, Tommy Tiernan presented nursing students Anne Browne and Aisling Devitt with the scholarships.
The Victoria Thompson Scholarship was set up by Victoria’s parents Sharon and Brian Thompson, who live in Moville. It was established to assist nurses in obtaining specialist qualifications in the care of children with terminal and life limiting conditions.
The scholarship was set up in memory of baby Victoria, who lived for exactly nine months and required the help of specialist pediatric palliative care nurses as a result of a rare disease.
Commenting on the scholarship, Victoria’s mother, Sharon Thompson, said: “When we were told Victoria’s condition was rare and terminal, we found it difficult to find specialised nursing care for her. In her memory we highlight the need for rural palliative care services for children. Families should automatically get access to options of care for a child with complex or palliative medical needs. Skilled nurses and this new course at NUI Galway are key to this happening for children all over the country.”
The dedicated Masters/Postgraduate Degree programme in Health Sciences specialising in children’s palliative and complex care, aims to equip nurses with the necessary skills for the increasing numbers of children and adolescents who have complex, life-limiting or terminal conditions and require care in a variety of settings (hospital or community), according to child and family preference.
Dr Georgina Gethin, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, stated: “It is timely that this first scholarship is awarded in the very same week that the School of Nursing and Midwifery has been recognised for its work and nominated in the Top 100 Globally for the subject nursing in the 2017 QS World University Subject Rankings.
“We are delighted with the opportunity this scholarship provides for nurses to further their studies and acquire new knowledge and skills in this highly specialised and very challenging field of nursing. We wish the recipients every success and know that they will make a positive impact on the lives of so many children and their families.”
Speaking about the new programme and her scholarship award, Nurse Aisling Devitt, said: “It can be difficult to work with children and families in such tough circumstances and the more education we have about palliative and complex care can only help us to be become better practitioners.
“It’s fantastic that NUI Galway has recognised this Health Service need as the numbers of children increases significantly. It has also been great to see nurses from all corners of Ireland attending the course to help bring the knowledge and skills back to our individual work places and encourage others to consider doing further education in this area, or at the very least highlight the important role we play in caring for these children and their families.
“It is also an honour to receive the Victoria Thompson Scholarship and I am delighted to be able to put it towards the second year of the programme this September.”
Applications for the second intake of the NUI Galway programme are being accepted from
Spring 2017 at: http://www.nuigalway.ie/nursing-midwifery.
For more information about the Victoria Thompson Scholarship visit: