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Monella Baptiste dedicates her Masters in Professional Nursing as she honours her late sister

Monella Baptiste, originally from Trinidad, is graduating (13 October) with a Masters in Professional Nursing.

Monella Baptiste celebrates graduating with a Masters in Professional Nursing with daughter Mercedes

During her course, Monella’s eldest sister, Marsha, battled against and sadly succumbed to cancer. Monella had to take some time off to travel to Trinidad to provide palliative care for her sister and arrange her funeral. 

She was remarkably close to her sister, as she was like a mother to Monella growing up – ensuring she attended school, was clothed and well-fed and did her homework. 

Monella says: “Without my sister’s love and support I would not have been accepted to this course and my desire to honour her gave me motivation and energy to persevere and succeed. During this difficult time, my lecturers, tutors, and the staff at Queen’s were really understanding and accommodating and I appreciate all the support they gave me.” 

During her time at Queen’s, Monella was also joined by her daughter Mercedez, as they both embarked on their education journeys together. Monella and her daughter both started their Masters in Professional Nursing and Law degrees respectively at Queen’s - arriving on campus for registration and induction on the same day. 

Speaking about her time at Queen’s, Monella said: “I enjoyed the participatory nature of the various lectures and seminars. Even though restrictions for managing the spread of Covid-19 limited the amount of time we were able to spend on campus, the online sessions were delivered in such a way that allowed me to learn, ask questions and engage with others. 

“On reflection, the ‘hybrid’ learning model worked really well for me, allowing me to successfully complete the course and manage my family commitments. 

“I enjoyed and benefited from the camaraderie between the course staff and fellow students, which grew and developed over the two years of the course. 

“We have a family saying in Trinidad that ‘there is no success without sacrifice’. Completing this course is demanding, and if, like me, you also have family or work commitments, planning and making arrangements in advance – especially during the clinical placements – will ease stress levels and make completing the course more manageable.” 

Monella also said: “There were challenges to overcome which sometimes seemed insurmountable, but with the support from Queen’s and my family, I overcame all my obstacles to achieve my Masters with distinction.” 

Monella has gained employment as a nurse on a cardiology ward with the Belfast HSC Trust and hopes to continue her studies to eventually work as a community-based Health Visitor. 


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