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Breast cancer survivor and mum of four graduates with degree in adult nursing

Elizabeth Buick aged 49 from Newtownabbey will graduate today (Tuesday 20 July) with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Adult Nursing from Queen’s University Belfast.

Elizabeth Buick
Elizabeth Buick

Elizabeth and her husband Mark (51) have four children: Sophie (16), Harry (14), Anna (12), and Evie (9).

Overcoming adversity and with great determination, it has taken Elizabeth over seven years to get to where she is today.

She said: “At times I cannot believe it, as I was not very academic at school and always thought of myself as “not very smart”. I left school with two GCSEs and as the saying goes, if I can do it anyone can!

“I did my access course while working part time in Hazelwood Integrated College and although there were times I wanted to give up, I kept going. It was tough at times especially as I have four children, but I kept at it in the hope that I would be lucky enough to get into Queen’s University.”

Elizabeth was successful at the mini multi-interviews and couldn't wait to start her course in September 2016. However, sadly this was not to be as Elizabeth had to defer for two years following a breast cancer diagnosis just two weeks before starting. She also contracted sepsis during her treatment which was life-threatening.

“I had my surgery and treatment in Belfast City Hospital and to this day I am so grateful to them for the care and treatment I received. They are really dedicated, and I am so lucky to have been looked after by them. They saved my life not just once, but twice, and to this day I am truly grateful.

“The thing that kept me going throughout the treatment was that I was going to start a degree in nursing, and this gave me a focus and a goal. I deferred for two years and the support I received while I was ill from Queen’s staff, friends and family was amazing. I am also grateful for the support from my wonderful family and friends and everyone at Hazelwood and Whitehouse Presbyterian Church.”

On graduating, she said: “I never thought that I was good enough to be seated in a lecture hall and now here I am about to graduate as a nurse.

“Life has many ups and downs but the people we get to meet on those journeys really help us to become the people we are today. I still have lots to learn and as they say in nursing, every day is a learning day.

“I hope my story inspires other people out there who need to know that they can do this too.”

Following her graduation, Elizabeth plans to relax and take some time out for herself to recharge before she starts her pre-registration job in the community in the Carlisle Wellbeing and Treatment Centre in Belfast as a district nurse.


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