Stefanie Bradley, 29, from Holywood, Co Down, will graduate today (Thursday 13 December) with a First Class Honours degree in Adult Nursing from Queen’s University Belfast.
Stefanie received the highest award given to nursing students each year, the Florence Elliott award for “Best Overall Student Nurse”. The award acknowledges her academic and clinical excellence, as well as recommendations from her lecturers and mentors.
As a student, Stefanie travelled to Kenya to nurse for four weeks on her elective placement. She met a young girl named Beth who she has sponsored for a number of years through the charity ‘Actions Not Words’. Since her visit, Stefanie’s father has also begun sponsoring two of the children that Stefanie met in Kenya.
Stephanie commented: “This experience deeply impacted both my personal and professional life. Spending time with Beth taught me a lot about humility and gratitude and I was able to develop my nursing skills in both hospital-based and community settings.
“With the support of Actions Not Words, fellow student Lyndsay Bradley and I ran workshops in hand-washing techniques, wound care and infection control in local schools. We also helped to set up, resource and manage two medical camps in deprived, isolated areas. These camps allowed local people to receive treatment that could otherwise be denied due to lack of access, finance and education.”
Stefanie has recently started working as a Band Five Nurse for the Belfast Trust in the Royal Victoria Hospital on a respiratory ward. This month will be a double celebration for her as the ward has been successful in winning an award for ‘outstanding patient care’ for after the staff arranged for a patient’s pet budgie to visit the hospital whilst he was receiving end-of-life care.
Stefanie will graduate alongside her friend Lyndsay, who also received a First Class Honours in Children’s Nursing. Stefanie and Lyndsay have been friends for 12 years and Lyndsay recently became Stefanie’s sister-in-law.
Speaking ahead of her graduation, Stefanie said: “Today marks the fulfilment of my dream to become a nurse. I am thrilled and honoured to have received the Florence Elliott award after three years of hard work. Whilst I have enjoyed my time as a student, this celebration signifies the beginning of what I hope will be a rewarding career.”
She added: “Being able to help patients and their families in both big and small ways during their most memorable and challenging moments in life is an incredible privilege.”
Stefanie hopes to return to Kenya to nurse in the local community and to visit Beth and her family again.
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