QMYOU Alumni Magazine Issue 81 - Page 5

Scotland’s first full-time university Therapet dog First TEDx event inspires student and professional nurses N U R S I N G L E A D E R S AT Q M U s t a g e d t h e University’s first TEDx event in a bid to share ideas and inspire the nursing professionals of the future. The aim of TEDx events – a high profile ideas sharing platform – is to share thoughts and ideas with individuals, communities and organisations. Organised by QMU’s nursing team, the theme of the event was ‘Flourishing People, Spaces and Places’. An eclectic range of speakers took to the stage to engage in topics such as recovering from homelessness, the importance of exercise to health and wellbeing, urban poverty, flourishing in times of economic hardship and flourishing in dying. Professor McCormack, Head of QMU’s Division of Nursing, described ‘Flourishing’ as being “a core part of our humanity that can become drowned by stress, poor leadership and routinized work. This theme aimed to remind us all of the need to celebrate the importance of innovation, passion, community and connectedness.” The first TEDx @QMU was so well received that the Division of Nursing is hoping to make it an annual event. ❒ Principal appointed to Commission on Widening Access P ROFESSOR WEND HAS been appointed as a Member of the Commission on Widening Access. The Principal joined student leaders and key figures from education and business to develop plans to help more students from disadvantaged backgrounds in Scotland to enter and succeed in higher education. The new Commission, which was announced by the First Minister in November 2014, is chaired by Dame Ruth Silver. It has been set up in light of the Scottish Government’s commitment to improve access to educational opportunities for disadvantaged people and recognition that more work in widening participation is required. R OCCO, A YOUNG labradoodle, is the first full-time T h e r a p et d og p l ac e d at a Scottish university. Aged two years, the black labrador/poodle cross, is fulfilling his recent role as a student stress-buster at QMU’s Students Union. Rocco is part of Canine Concern Scotland Trust’s Therapet Visiting Service and has been specially assessed by the charity for this role. His owner, Kirsten Baird, General Manager of QMU’s Students’ Union, has been working hard on Rocco’s training and socialisation on a daily basis. She said: “The Students’ Union has run several ‘Therapet’ sessions over the last few years which students really seemed to benefit from. Rocco came with me to work almost every day and the students all seemed to love him. So it made sense to train him as an official ‘Therapet’ which would allow QMU students more regular access to organised sessions.” She continued: “He is proving to be a huge hit with students, particularly during stressful periods around exams and assignments. Many students miss their own pets from home and often enjoy the opportunity to be with Rocco.” Maj Meah, a recent Public Relations and Media graduate, has attended several Therapet sessions at the Students’ Union. He said: “Everyone loves Rocco and the students now associate him with their visits to the Students’ Union. He’s a fun dog to have around and is proving to be a great stress-buster and companion for many students at QMU.” Caitlin Lewis-Ogden, a BA (Hons) Costume Design and Construction student at QMU, said: “I am not able to care for a dog full-time at this point, but having the opportunity to spend time with Rocco on occasion has been really lovely.” Kirsten Baird concluded: “The Therapet Visiting Service offers a win-win to all concerned. It’s great for the dog - who relishes the opportunity to give love and receive attention - and to the pet owners who get a feeling of satisfaction knowing their beloved animal is helping others. It’s also nice to know that QMU’s Students’ Union is leading the way with the introduction of the first full-time Therapet at a Scottish university. It’s great for all of our animal loving students who lap up every minute of their time with Rocco, and for our Students’ Union. ❒ Professor Wend has been asked to join the Commission due to the insight and experience she is able to bring as Vice-Convenor of Universities Scotland and former chair of Universities Scotland’s Learning and Teaching Committee. Her connections with the school teacher community through her recent work as Chair of the National Implementation Board for Teaching Scotland’s Future will also be a great asset. Professor Wend said: “I am passionate about ensuring equality of opportunity in access to university and QMU already plays a significant role in helping more people from disadvantaged backgrounds secure places in higher education. This next phase of widening access work, which will be supported by the Commission, is to identify ways of ensuring equality of access to education for all members of our community and provide them with every opportunity to succeed.” ❒ Caitlin enjoys spending time with Rocco QMYOU / News in Brief 5