Two sisters who studied an Access course at North West Regional College (NWRC), designed to enable adult learners to return to education, are now in the closing stages of reaching their lifelong ambition of becoming nurses. Sisters Stephanie and Carol Logue who come from a long family history of nurses, both left mainstream education when they were 16 to pursue other careers.However the Strabane women decided to take the plunge back into learning when they discovered the Access Diploma in Health and Welfare at NWRC Strabane, a course validated by Queen’s University Belfast. Both have now progressed to Nursing Degrees at Ulster University. Mother of three Stephanie is now in the final year of a BSC Honours Degree in Mental Health Nursing and will graduate this Summer, while Carol, who has five children, will finish her Degree in Adult Nursing in the Summer of 2018. The student nurses say that returning to the classroom setting after such a big gap in their education was initially daunting, but the support they received from NWRC staff in Strabane was invaluable. Stephanie explained that studying the Access Course on a part time basis made it easier to fit in with her busy life. She added: “I had always planned to return to education and when my youngest child was born it seemed like the right time. I decided to study the Access course over two years because it was more flexible with working and family life. “I was apprehensive at first about coming back but the staff at NWRC are brilliant. There is a great support network and they make it easier for you.” Inspired by her sister Stephanie’s success Carol also decided to enrol on the Access course. “The class was a great support network and there was a good mixture of ages so everyone felt comfortable,” she said. “There were so many parts to it including Anatomy, Physiology, Pathophysiology, Public Health Research, Maths and ICT, broken down into various different modules. “It’s a demanding course but that’s because it’s such a high standard of education. The lecturers and tutors we had were so supportive and always there to help with any questions.” The sisters say the course gave them a valuable stepping stone allowing them to progress from Further Education at North West Regional College to Higher Education at Ulster University. Stephanie commented: “The crucial thing for us was that this course is taught in Strabane as well as Derry. This meant we were able to juggle family life with education and placements. “The course is so well structured that when I transferred into Year one of my degree I felt I was a step ahead as I had a good baseline of knowledge in research and public health.” With applications for the 2017/18 Access Diploma in Health and Welfare at Strabane now open Carol encouraged other adult learners to go for it. “Life is too short, do what you want to do,” she said. “There are so many career paths it opens up including Counselling, Psychology, and Social Work.” For more information on courses at NWRC Strabane log on to www.nwrc.ac.uk or ring 71276000 and ask for the Careers Academy.
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