Media release: Opportunities highlighted ahead of International Nurses Day

Stornoway Nursing UHI photography, December 2017

AHEAD of International Nurses Day on Saturday 12 May, NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles and the University of the Highlands and Islands are highlighting the opportunities available to those considering a career in nursing.

There are a number of training and employment options around the Highlands and Islands region, with the university providing BSc nursing programmes in Inverness and Stornoway and NHS health boards offering a range of career paths to choose from.

Iona McGauran, lead nurse for Raigmore Hospital, explains: “Nurses make up the largest section of the healthcare workforce and are responsible for caring for individuals, families and communities across a wide and varied number of specialities. You are spoilt for choice if you pick nursing as your chosen profession. Whether you go for adult, child, or mental health, or choose to work in an acute ward setting or a community setting, this is a career that allows you to further develop your skills as you go. Nursing is a very rewarding career where you can make a real difference in the lives of the patients and families that you come into contact with.”

Gordon Jamieson, chief executive of NHS Western Isles, added: “I became a nurse over 40 years ago and can say that there is no job more satisfying than being able to support, help and care for other fellow human beings. Nursing offers such a wide range of choice and location in terms of practice opportunities and, here in the islands of Scotland, you can also enjoy a unique and fulfilling lifestyle.”

Those looking to enter or progress in the profession can access education and research opportunities at the university’s nursing departments at the Western Isles Hospital and the Centre for Health Science in Inverness. A BSc in adult nursing is available at both locations and the Inverness campus also offers a BSc in mental health nursing. Scottish students may be eligible to receive a nursing and midwifery bursary to undertake the three-year degree courses.

Practicing nurses and health professionals, meanwhile, can access professional development programmes through the university’s advanced nurse practitioner or professional practice MSc. There are also opportunities to undertake health and wellbeing research.

Professor Annetta Smith, head of nursing at the University of the Highlands and Islands, explains: “Nursing is an extremely skilful and rewarding career. We support individuals to become confident and competent nurses who can provide effective compassionate care in a range of care settings. Our nursing undergraduate programme offers nursing students a unique experience. We are the only training provider that has a campus on a Scottish island as well as the mainland. A nursing student who graduates from our programmes will have the skills and expertise to work across many local, national and global healthcare settings.”

International Nurses Day is an annual event which marks the contributions nurses make to society. A recent report by NHS Scotland indicates that there are over 57,000 full-time equivalent nurses in Scotland. The University of the Highlands and Islands is holding a nursing open day at the Centre for Health Science on International Nurses Day (Saturday 12 May) and has also organised open days on the following dates:

•    Tuesday 8 May, Monday 14 May, Thursday 17 May, Monday 21 May and Thursday 24 May – Western Isles Hospital, Stornoway
•    Saturday 26 May and Saturday 16 June – Centre for Health Science, Inverness
•    Wednesday 6 June – West Highland College UHI, Fort William
•    Thursday 14 June – North Highland College UHI, Thurso

To attend an open day event or find out more about studying nursing in the Highlands and Islands, visit

Case study:

Cheryl Duncan is in her first year of the BSc mental health nursing at the Department of Nursing in Inverness. She said: “I completely changed my career from being cabin crew for 15 years to nursing and am very happy I did. I was worried at the start, but I was put at ease straight away with the support you get from everyone. The Centre for Health Science is a great facility to study at. I would like to work with the Community Mental Health team.”


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