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Midwifery Celebration Event
Midwifery Celebration Event
Congratulations to the February 22' intake in Masters in Midwifery Programme

On 27th February we held a celebration event for our February 22 intake who are due to complete their Masters in Midwifery programme on 10 March.  This event was to celebrate the students hard work and achievement.  We had several invited speakers. Professor Donna Fitzsimons and Johanna McMullan opened the event and congratulated the students on their achievement.  We invited Caroline Diamond, Head of Midwifery Northern HSCT to talk about quality and safety in maternity care. Karen Murray, NI Director of the Royal College of Midwives [RCM] talked to the students about the role of the RCM.  We had an online surprise interview for the students with Professor Mary Renfrew, OBE who inspired the students in relation to their chosen midwifery career. 

Our valued PCEP member Bethany Connaughton spoke to the group about her own journey with QUB and shared insights into her experiences of being cared for in maternity services and the value that interpersonal skills have on a woman’s journey in maternity care. Finally, Eimear McElwee shared her experiences of being a newly qualified midwife.  The whole event completed with some gifts for the students and a lovely catch up coffee.

PCEP member Bethany commented "I was delighted to be asked to speak at the celebration event for the MSc in Midwifery, February 22 cohort. Having been involved in the development of the new curriculum and also being on the NMC approval panel for the course it was a pleasure to see this group of students come through the programme. It was clear throughout the event that these students have not only just completed the programme but they have thrived and are now ready to join the workforce as highly skilled and competent midwives. I was able to talk to them about my experience as a service user and the qualities that I, as a maternity service user, would be looking for in a midwife. I know that due to the high level of coproduction of this programme that they have had similar insight throughout the whole of their course. I told them about my positive experience with a newly qualified midwife during a difficult stage of my third pregnancy and reminded them that whilst some advanced skills in midwifery practice may take years to develop they are already equipped with the interpersonal and communication skills needed to make a real difference to women and their families in their maternity journey. 


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Education Poster
Launch of Young Carers in Education Poster
on Monday 29th January 2024
The Patient and Carer Education Partnership Forum were invited to attend the Launch of Young Carers in Education Poster.

Representatives from the forum, Ms Gillian Higgins (PCEP Coordinator), Ms Lucy Simms (Teaching Assistant in Children and Young People) and Ms Johanna McMullan (Director of Education) attended the Launch in Action for Children alongside the Department of Education and Barnardo's NI.  This initiative is part of the 'Young Carers Education Research' report  which aims to highlight the difficulties young carers face in education settings and the impact it has on their learning.

The poster was designed by siblings of a family who are involved with Young Carers NI.  The poster and information packs will hit over a 1000 schools in Northern Ireland to help raise awareness and signpost young carers to support.



It was a great honour for members of PCEP to attend this launch and show their support to this initiative and Young Carers NI who we have worked closely with on previous projects and will continue to grow this working partnership.



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BSc Professional Nursing Graduation
PCEP members involved in Academic Procession

On Friday 15th December 2023 the School of Nursing & Midwifery, QUB held their Winter Graduation for the BSc Professional Nursing students.  The PCEP members are pictured here with Pro-Vice Chancellor Judy Williams.  Johanna McMullan, Director of Education commented:

"It was with great pride that we and our PCEP partners proceeded at graduation recently.  The PCEP forum continue to be an integral part of all our programmes supporting the recruitment process and ensuring candidates come with the attributes required to become compassionate, caring nurses."

Our newly appointed Honorary Lecturers Mr Trevor Wightman, Ms Susan Abraham and Mr William Johnston were involved in the Academic Procession.  Commenting on this experience, Forum member Trevor Wightman said:

"Having been involved with PCEP since 2020 I was greatly honoured to be appointed as an Honorary lecturer by the School of Nursing and Midwifery. This feeling was increased when I was invited to participate in the Graduation Ceremony and take part in the Procession. Having been involved in the interview process for some of the Graduates it was amazing watching as they completed their courses and were awarded their degrees.

The whole experience has left me with a strong sense of pride and I look forward to continuing my involvement with PCEP and the school.”

PCEP members and DOE

PCEP Members William Johnston, Susan Abraham, Director of Education, Johanna McMullan and Trevor Wightman




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PCEP Forum
PCEP Annual Report 2022-23
PCEP Annual Report September 2022- August 2023

We are delighted to announce the publication of our first Patient and Carer Education Partnership Annual Report on the 12th December 2023.

The report summarises the processes of the PCEP Forum and showcases the involvement within the School, while capturing the excellent collaborative work that is ongoing.  Our Forum is going from strength to strength with a welcomed increase in forum members.

To read the report please click here.


PCEP Coffee and Chat Drop in morning
15th November 2023

The PCEP Forum held its first Coffee and Chat drop in session for PCEP members and staff.  This was held in Clements Cafe in the MBC and it was a great initiative for everyone to get to know each other better in a relaxed environment. 

The feedback was very positive and the Forum will be hosting more of these style events next year.

PCEP member
PPI Ignite Network's National PPI Festival - 2/10/23
PPI Ignite Network's National PPI Festival, "Public and Patient Involvement – Where WE all matter"

The National PPI Ignite Network launched its 2023 Festival at DCU St Patricks Campus on Monday 2nd of October.  The theme of this month long festival focuses on  celebrating and promoting the involvement of service users, carers and people from the community/voluntary sector and staff in the strategic and local development of the HSC. 

The PCEP Forum were invited to speak at the launch of this prestigious event in acknowledgement of the good work that has been done and indeed  continues to develop in terms of partnership working  within the School.  To that end Dr Scott Peddie and Mr Colin Hughes represented the Forum and School at a discussion panel at the launch event which focused on ways in which co-design and co-production and partnership working can be successfully accomplished.

PCEP members

PCEP Members     





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Patient Safety
World Patient Safety Day
17 September 2023

To mark World Patient Safety Day, the Patient and Carer Education Partnership (PCEP) Forum within the School of Nursing and Midwifery at QUB, would like to remind everyone about the importance of working together to improve the care we provide.  It is important to involve patients in their own care decisions and when appropriate, seek advice and guidance from those that know them best.

Please take a few moments to reflect and consider the valuable input patients and carers make in shaping the care we provide.

Imelda speaking to students
Midwifery Celebration Event
Congratulations to the 'May 21' Class of MSc Midwifery

On Tuesday 20th June 2023, PCEP member, Imelda Smyth spent the morning celebrating with the May 21 Class of MSc Midwifery.

Imelda was absolutely honoured to join them in such an inspirational morning which included hearing from keynote speaker, Dr Dale Spence, Midwifery Officer, Department of Health, Verena Wallace, Senior Midwifery Officer, NMC and many others.

Imelda had the pleasure of speaking to the class on behalf of the PCEP forum to recognise their outstanding achievements. Imelda also spoke about her lived experiences of Midwifery services and the importance of women and midwives together.
Imelda commented "It was an extra special day of celebration as it was the first cohort of students to complete an MSc in Midwifery at QUB. Congratulations to all of the students and their lecturers for the hard work, dedication and passion!"

MSC Midwifery      Running order

Lead Midwife Dr Janine Stockdale commented "Celebrating with our MSc in Midwifery Class of 2021 was a proud day for the midwifery team.  Together we got to meet our students' families and friends and enjoyed listening to the Guest Speakers challenge our students to be the very best midwives - which we know they will!


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Member of forum
Congratulations to PCEP Member Trevor Wightman
Congratulations to Trevor who authored a chapter in a book
Trevor Wightman authored a chapter entitled 'Carer's perspective' in a book entitled 'The role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist in Cancer Care' published by Wiley Blackwell and edited by Dr Helen Kerr, School of Nursing and Midwifery, QUB.  This book is due published in September 2023.  This is an important chapter in the book in which Trevor shares his experiences and perspectives of being a carer and the important contribution the Clinical Nurse Specialist had in supporting his role.  These insights will further support the Clinical Nurse Specialist to tailor their person-centred care to the individual needs of carers of those with a cancer diagnosis.  

Well done Trevor from all your colleagues in the PCEP Forum and we look forward to reading the published article.

Member of forum
Appointment of Honorary Lecturer
Congratulations to PCEP Member William Johnston who has been appointed an Honorary Lecturer
The appointment of William as an Honorary Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery will support the growing reputation of the patient and public involvement work within the department and further facilitate and foster effective and meaningful co-production between patients, carers and staff.  William has considerable lived experience which he has shared to create meaningful and sustained change to renal healthcare delivery, policy and practice. William is a dedicated advocate for patients living with kidney disease, having contributed significantly to global research projects and expert advisory groups while making a difference through his artistic endeavours. Despite his own battle with kidney disease, he has worked tirelessly to raise awareness, improve patient lives, and promote organ donation, leaving a lasting legacy in Northern Ireland.
Hillsborough Castle
Meeting HM King Charles at Hillsborough Castle
School of Nursing & Midwifery Representatives Meet HM King Charles at Hillsborough Castle
Professor Donna Fitzsimons, Lyn Crawford, Mary Duffin and Maria Somerville from the School were delighted to attend the Garden Party at Hillsborough Castle on Wednesday 24 May 2023 and meet HM King Charles.  The invitations were extended in recognition of the School's activities and support during the Covid pandemic. The inclusion of Mary & Maria from our Patient & Carer Educational Partnership underlines royal recognition for the important role they play in our school. It was a superb occasion, and everyone had a wonderful day! 

King Donna and Lyn        Lyn and The king

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Staff Nurse Care Awards held in Titanic, Belfast
on Thursday 6th April 2023
The School of Nursing & Midwifery were invited to judge the nominations for these prestigious awards.

Representatives from the School attended the gala dinner and awards ceremony in Titanic building. This event celebrated the excellent standards of care that exists in N.I and those attending were humbled and proud to be there celebrating the work of our healthcare colleagues. Susan Carlisle the Director of Education said a few opening remarks and made presentations in a few categories.

We were delighted to celebrate this prestigious event with our PCEP colleagues Mary Duffin, Maria Somerville and Trevor Wightman.
PCEP Forum meeting with Public Health Agency (PHA)
Quarterly Forum meeting on Monday 13th March 2023

Members of the Patient and Carers Education Partnership (PCEP) Forum welcomed Ms Sandra Aitcheson, Assistant Director, Nursing Adults and older people in the PHA and her colleague Michelle Laverty, to the School of Nursing and Midwifery at QUB to explain how they are involved with school business. Each member of the forum introduced themselves, sharing their experiences and explaining why they became involved with the group. The Chair of PCEP thanked Sandra and Michelle for attending and look forward to developing this partnership. 

GEMS Graduation
Graduate Entry Masters Professional Nursing Graduation
The First Graduation for our Graduate Entry Masters Professional Nursing (GEMS) cohort

On Thursday 13th October 2022 the School of Nursing & Midwifery, QUB held the first Graduation for their Graduate Entry Masters Professional Nursing 2020 cohort in the Whitla Hall.  Professor Christine Brown Wilson, Programme Director addressed those in attendance stating:

"It was with great pride that we and our PCEP partners watched the first cohort of the Graduate Entry Masters Professional Nursing or GEMS for short, graduate today.  The GEMS programme was coproduced with our PCEP forum members who supported us in ensuring the programme reflected the needs of patients, carers and the communities in which they live.  The PCEP forum continue to be an integral part of the GEMS programme supporting the recruitment process and ensuring candidates come with the attributes required to become compassionate, caring nurses. 

This support continued with delivery of teaching, support in authentic assessment such as communication role plays and by providing invaluable feedback to our students. It is a privilege and honour to work so closely with our PCEP colleagues ensuring our students are safe, effective and compassionate nurses on graduation." 

Three members of the PCEP Forum have been awarded Honorary Lecturer's within the school, Dr Scott Peddie, Mrs Mary Duffin and Mrs Maria Somerville which led to their inclusion in the Academic Procession at Graduation.  Commenting on this experience, Forum member Maria Somerville said:

"I feel very honoured to be awarded an Honorary Lectureship by the School of Nursing and Midwifery and to be invited to the first GEMS Graduation. It was a real privilege being part of the procession. It was quite emotional too as I was very aware my son was the reason for my role in this graduation; I was there having been his parent carer for 27 years. It was a very uplifting experience seeing our master's nurses complete their course especially given the challenges they faced from covid from the very outset of their course.  I feel it was very important to be involved as a PCEP member in all aspects of the GEMS course. We were involved in designing the curriculum, interviewing candidates, assessing students & delivering lectures. I hope our real-life experience has enhanced the student experience and has helped to prepare them for their future work in Health & Social Care. It was a wonderful day and it was great to meet the Health Minister and the Chief Nursing Officer".


PCEP Members and staff


PCEP Members Graduation


GEMS Graduation PCEP member     GEMS Graduation PCEP member  

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PCEP Member
Sad News
In memory of PCEP member Liz Cunningham

It is with great sadness that we attended the funeral last week of our long standing PCEP member Liz Cunningham who passed away on Sunday 7th August 2022.

The School and PCEP Forum pass on their Sincere Condolences to the Cunningham Family, Husband Philip, Daughters Nikola and Lisa and the entire family circle.

Liz was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's at the age of 48.

Liz first met with the Patient and Carers Education Partnership Forum (formerly Service Users and Carers) back in September 2015 when she attended one of our meetings to raise awareness for dementia from her role within Dementia Friendly Communities. Liz quickly became a valued member of our forum attending regular meetings which led to Liz getting more involved within the School working alongside Staff and Students. Professor Donna Fitzsimons Head of School said "Liz has made a lasting impression upon our School supporting us to embed the voice of Patients and Carers in everything we do. She was a courageous lady and a strong advocate for Nursing & Midwifery. We send our deepest sympathies to all her family and friends, she will be sadly missed by all of us".

Some of Liz's valued work involved recording audio podcasts for our students about living with dementia and supporting our Postgraduate students with their dementia research.

More recently, Liz worked with one of our research team (comprised of students/staff) to co-design a dementia awareness game for children. Our staff member Dr Gary Mitchell who was involved said "Liz was a wonderful person who had a leading role in the development of Northern Ireland's Dementia Learning and Development Framework that was launched back in 2017. Liz also picked up a lifetime achievement award from the Alzheimer's Society in 2019 in recognition of her enduring and significant contribution to raising awareness about dementia. She is a tour-de-force and her legacy will remain for many years".

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Congratulations to Dr Paul Gallagher
PCEP member Paul Gallagher graduates from Queen's University Belfast

We are delighted to announce that our Forum member Paul Gallagher graduated on Saturday 2nd July 2022 with a PhD in Sociology from the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work from Queen’s University.

Paul is a survivor of the Troubles and was injured in a terrifying gun attack at his home in 1994 when he was just 21 years old. The gunmen held him and his family hostage. 

Describing his attack, Paul said: “Their intended target, my neighbour, did not arrive home, so they decided to shoot me instead. I was hit six times and woke up a couple of days later in intensive care with a tube down my neck to help me breathe, not knowing that I was paralysed. 

“It was about a week later when the doctors came in and told me I was paralysed. That was a big shock, and, in that instant, my life changed utterly.” 


Throughout his time at university, Paul has been involved with WAVE Trauma Centre in Northern Ireland, campaigning to introduce a pension for those injured during the Troubles which started in 2008 and has finally become successful with applicants already starting to receive payment.

Paul is now currently working in WAVE as a Trauma Education Officer where he coordinates some of the modules on the Trauma Studies degree, as well as providing teaching.

Paul has been an active member of our Patients and Carers Forum from the onset attending meetings, giving lectures to students, and continually engaging in all aspects of the student experience. Paul says “My learning over the past number of years in the field of trauma and conflict transformation, blended with my own personal experiences, has added value to my engagement within the area of victims and survivors, as well as enhancing my involvement with the PCEP forum in Queen’s University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. It is within this forum that I have been able to bring my skills and experience into helping to educate the nurses and midwives of the future”.

Following his graduation, Paul hopes to continue to use what he has learned to help other victims.


Photos from Pauls' Graduation:-






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PCEP tour of Intersim Centre, QUB
KN Cheung SK Chin InterSim Centre - Simulated training for the next generation of healthcare professionals

On Monday 13th June 2022 the PCEP Forum took a tour of the KN Cheung SK Chin InterSim Centre with Technical Manager & Lead, Kevin Campbell.  It was a fantastic opportunity for the Forum to experience this state-of-the-art learning facility which is available to our student Nurses and Midwives.

The Centre is named the KN Cheung SK Chin, in celebration of the parents of the lead donor who is a Queen’s medical graduate, it was built thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends, and it opened to welcome visitors and students in August 2021. Five years in the making, they are so proud to have this cutting-edge training facility available for Queen’s Medical, Pharmacy, Dentistry, and Nursing and Midwifery students. This incredible resource will support everyone in their aim to promote excellence in education of healthcare professionals through an inter-professional simulation-based approach that drives safe, effective, and collaborative care now and in the future.

The PCEP Forum congratulated Kevin Campbell on winning the QUB Technician (education) of the year award for his work on helping to create and deliver within InterSim - well done Kevin!

Photos from our tour:-



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Awards Night, Titanic
Staff Nurse Care Awards held in Titanic, Belfast
on Thursday 21st April 2022

The School of Nursing & Midwifery sponsored the Staff Nursing Care Awards this year again. This was an opportunity to support the Independent Sector and celebrate the care provided by Nursing Homes.

It was an extremely rewarding and emotional insightful evening for all Guests, Organisations, Charities, Sponsors and Partners.  

Many hearts were touched by the accolade for each of the nominees praised by every one of us.   It was a privilege to attend and get an insight into the ongoing work and practices for our most vulnerable people in society.

We would like to congratulate all the nominees and winners on the evening, and always remember, everyone is a winner.

Mary Duffin & Susan Abraham

PCEP Forum members