HRH the Princess Royal visited sites at Stornoway and Inverness this week to welcome the University of the Highlands and Islands’ first ever intake of nursing students.
The visit was organised following the transfer of the pre-registration nurse education programmes for BSc mental health nursing and BSc adult nursing to the university from the University of Stirling. The move was given approval by regulators last year, as reported by Nursing Times.
Acting in her role as chancellor of the university, the princess toured the Western Isles Hospital and the Centre for Health Science, and presented each nursing student with a commemorative pen.
She also announced plans to introduce a Chancellor’s Nursing Award to recognise excellence in the nursing cohort.
The introduction of the nursing course forms part of the University of the Highlands and Islands’ wider plans to develop its school of health, social care and life sciences.
Speaking at the event, Professor Clive Mulholland, principal and vice-chancellor of the university, said: “It is a considerable achievement to welcome our first cohort of nursing students today, one year after we received approval from the Nursing and Midwifery Council for the transfer to happen.
“I would like to thank the staff from both universities who worked so hard to make this possible,” he said. “The transfer has been a vital component in the development of our school of health.”
He added: “Operating across our college and university partnership, our school will help to provide better access to services and improved outcomes for residents across the Highlands and Islands.”
Heidi May, director of nursing for NHS Highland, said: “It’s fantastic to see the first group of students begin their nursing journey at the University of the Highlands and Islands.
“Nursing is a wonderful and very satisfying career,” she said. “I am certain they will flourish in their chosen vocation and look forward to working with them in the coming years.”
Meanwhile, Chris Anne Campbell, nurse director at NHS Western Isles, said: “It is really heartening to see that pre-registration nurse education will continue to be provided in the Western Isles through the University of the Highlands and Islands.
“I am sure that this will encourage more students to be educated and remain as nurses locally, where their care and compassion will be so valued,” she added.