Tragedy inspires mum to fulfil career ambition

Simone McDaid followed her nursing dream after witnessing care her dying daughter received

A mum who followed her nursing dream after watching health professionals care for her dying daughter has graduated from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). 

Simone McDaid used the heartbreak of losing five-year-old Bethany-Kate to inspire her to fulfil her career ambitions.

The adult nursing graduate said: “I had always wanted to be a nurse, however due to having a daughter who needed 24-hour care, my nursing degree was put on hold until later.

“I lost my daughter in 2008 but it was her death which taught me how I could be the best nurse. Her illness required a lot of care from a large multi-disciplinary team and watching that team showed me the good points of care but also some issues, so rather than fighting the NHS I decided to join them.”

The 34-year-old has since gone on to have two more children and has been a mixing her full-time degree study and the work placements with motherhood.

She said: “Nursing is harder with having children but you learn how to prioritise your life and lean how to be organised. They are some of the most valuable skills in nursing so it’s helped in my job.”

Graduating was one of the best days I’ve ever had - what an achievement to be proud of after four years.

Simone had previously worked in healthcare and was the team leader for the complex care paediatric home care team prior to studying adult nursing at UCLan.

She said: “Due to my life experiences, I had lots of experience in nursing but had to get my degree to achieve my dreams, ambitions and goals. I chose UCLan because it allowed me to complete the foundation year, which I would highly recommend. This really set me up for the degree and gave me an advantage when it came to learning how to write essays.”

Simone, who has now started work for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust, added: “As a mature student I was nervous before starting University, but it’s been one of the best parts of my life as I’ve made lifelong friends.

“You do have to put the hours in, I’m not going to lie, but the hard work pays off as it’s so rewarding and it’s an honour to help people on their journeys, through illness, recovery and even death.

“Graduating was one of the best days I’ve ever had - what an achievement to be proud of after four years.”

She was one of 1,500 students who graduated in front of her family at UCLan’s Preston Campus.

New UCLan graduate Simone McDaid

New UCLan graduate Simone McDaid.

Rachel Atkinson | 19 December 2019