I sat on the fence for many years but the right time came for me. I wouldn’t have got where I am if it hadn’t started at NWRC.Denise O'KaneStudent Nurse of the Year
Former Access student Denise O’Kane has been awarded ‘Student Nurse of the Year’ at the 2023 Northern Ireland Staff Nursing Care Awards.
Denise completed the Access Diploma in Health and Welfare at NWRC and went on to study Nursing at Ulster University at Magee. She’s due to graduate in the next ten weeks.
The mum of two previously travelled the world as a singer with Riverdance, worked as a flight attendant with Virgin Atlantic and spent 15 years working in Thomas Goldsmiths before enrolling at NWRC on the Access Adult Learning Diploma.
And just weeks before graduating from Ulster University she says she’s “over the moon” to have won the title.
She said: “The Access course at NWRC was best possible thing I could have done, no doubt about that – it really prepared me for my academic work at University.
“My sons had all moved on to post primary school and I had no more school runs to do – and I just said – now is the time! My brother Ciaran had previously completed the Access course and he really encouraged me.
“I did the course full time with Theresa McLoone and Jacqueline MacBride and it was a great experience. We had a very mixed class in terms of age and gender.
“I must mention Gavin in Careers who helped me with my personal statement, I had so much support.”
Denise said her sons Tomás. and Cillian, fiancé Damien and mum are very proud of her.
“My dad Hugh died in 2014 and I looked after him when he was ill,” she said. “It was looking after him that made me make the decision that I should try for a career in nursing.
“I sat on the fence for many years but the right time came for me. I wouldn’t have got where I am if it hadn’t started at NWRC.
“I can’t believe I am graduating, and I’d say to anyone thinking about going back to education to take the plunge.”
Apply here: www.nwrc.ac.uk/apply