Last week, NUI Galway hosted the inaugural launch of the ‘Victoria Thompson Scholarships’, with comedian and television presenter Tommy Tiernan presenting two nursing students with the awards. The students are currently studying the new Masters in Children’s Palliative and Complex Care.
The ‘Victoria Thompson Scholarship’ was established to assist nurses in obtaining specialist qualifications in the care of children with terminal and life limiting conditions. The scholarship was setup in memory of baby Victoria Thompson, who required the help of specialist pediatric palliative care nurses before her death at nine months old as a result of a rare disease. The scholarship is run by Victoria’s parents, Sharon and Brian Thompson.
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 scholarships were presented to student nurses Anne Browne and Aisling Devitt, who’s Masters course ‘aims to equip nurses with the necessary skills for the increasing numbers of children and adolescents who have complex, life-limiting or terminal conditions.’
Speaking about the new NUI Galway programme and her scholarship, 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.”
Photo: L-R: Brian Thompson, Nurse Anne Browne, Tommy Tiernan, Nurse Aisling Devitt and Sharon Thompson presenting the Victoria Thompson Scholarships to both nurses who are studying the Masters in Children’s Palliative and Complex Care at NUI Galway. Photo: Aengus McMahon.
NUI Galway students nurses Anne Browne and Aisling Devitt were the proud recipients of the scholarships.