Scotswoman of the Year Awards

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Professor Debbie Tolson was one of five women to be recently shortlisted for the Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year award due to her lifelong dedication to advancing older people’s health.

Professor Tolson is respected nationally and internationally for her work on dementia and is the Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Dementia Policy and Practice, a joint partnership between UWS and Alzheimer Scotland, which is based at Hamilton Campus.

She is passionate about improving services and care for people living with dementia and her hard work and determination has made a real difference to those with dementia, and the attitudes of others towards them.

Professor Tolson, said: “It was a real honour being shortlisted for this prestigious award. Throughout my career I have been committed to working with colleagues to raise the awareness and that understanding of dementia as it is vital that as many people as possible are aware of the condition, the challenges people with dementia may face and the positive steps we can all take to make a difference to their lives.”

The award was presented at a ceremony in Glasgow City Chambers on Thursday 11 February 2016 and saw Professor Tolson miss out to Adele Patrick, who is the inspiration behind Glasgow Women’s Library. See:


Experiential Learning at Midpark Hospital

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NHS Dumfries and Galloway have joined forces with our Dumfries Campus colleagues to host an event to raise awareness of dementia and the challenges faced by people living with the condition. This event is part of a wide training programme sponsored by the Scottish Government to support health boards to implement Commitment 11 of Scotland’s Dementia Strategy – to ensure quality and excellence in specialist dementia care.

On Monday 15 February people have been invited to come along to the family room at Midpark Hospital Cafe and family room to learn about some of the changes in movement, thinking and senses that some people may develop during a dementia-causing illness.

Visitors will be able to wear special clothes, glasses and headsets that simulate the experiences people with dementia can have.  This will give participants an insight into the day to day challenges they can face. Border TV are also speaking to staff at Midpark Hospital today and our own Anna Waugh as you can see. Watch tonight’s news at 6.30pm to find out more.

Lorraine Haining, a specialist nurse practitioner and member of the award winning Interventions for Dementia: Education, Assessment and Support (IDEAS) team.  She said:  “Dementia is a complex condition and people can develop a number of sensory changes. They may also have physical symptoms due to illness or normal ageing. Understanding the range and complexity of experiences of dementia and providing appropriate support and reassurance can help people living with dementia feel safe.  We organised this event to raise awareness of dementia and the kind of common symptoms people experience.”

Anna Lecturer from the School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery Mental Health Team said:  “The impact of dementia is unique to each person and depends very much on the type of dementia they are dealing with, their life experiences and support networks they have. When the focus is on memory and orientation, other sensory and physical challenges can be missed.  This event is designed to encourage participants to apply their knowledge of physical health and sensory challenges when they are caring for a person with dementia.”

This initiative builds on the partnership between NHS Dumfries and Galloway and UWS which saw the development of Scotland’s National Dementia Champions.  Health boards and Council’s across Scotland now have their own National Dementia Champions who have all attended their study programmes hosted by our school.


Mentorship on the Learning Bus

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Barbara O’Donnell and Hazel Kyle have taken the Mentorship: Professional Practice  module  to Lochgilphead via the UWS Learning Bus.

Mentorship: Professional Practice enables students to develop the necessary knowledge skills and competence to meet the requirements of a mentor in practice as defined by the NMC. Sometimes nurses and midwives who live in rural areas have difficulty accessing the module and so Barbara and Hazel have taken it to them.

Successful completion of the module enables the mentor to become a credible, effective and valued contributor to learning and assessment in practice, who through provision of guidance, support and assessment will become an effective facilitator of learning in a practice learning environment.

Mentor competence is developed both on campus, in this case the bus, and in a work-based setting by learning and adopting the principles of a recognised model of mentorship in practice thus creating a positive teaching, learning and assessment environment whilst promoting effective inter-professional relationships.


Some Pictures from Princess Anne’s Visit

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Great day on Friday, when HRH Princess Anne came along to open the Atrium at our Paisley Campus. As you can see and a lot of our students managed to attend. You are welcome to share this if you see yourself.

Can you spot the MP?

Paisley Campus to have a Royal Visitor

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Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will officially open University of the West of Scotland’s new flexible learning space, the ‘Atrium’ during a visit to its Paisley Campus today (Friday 12 February 2016).

The new Atrium at the University’s Paisley Campus High Street entrance is a vibrant, technology-rich and flexible learning area.  It features new social learning areas, providing interactive smartscreen technology; meeting spaces; events areas; study and meeting spaces; display zones; and a café open to staff, students and members of the community.


UWS is committed to delivering a dynamic and exciting learning environment, ensuring that it provides a modern, exciting and high quality student experience. This development is part of the University’s ongoing campus re-development programme, encompassing all aspects of work across all four of its Scottish campuses.

The visit to UWS will also see Her Royal Highness, escorted by Professor Craig Mahoney, UWS Principal and Vice-Chancellor, undertaking a tour of the Paisley Campus, giving an insight into the significant investment UWS has recently made at the Campus to guarantee that students are given a first-class learning experience.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said: “We are absolutely delighted and hugely honoured that HRH The Princess Royal will officially open the new state-of-the-art Atrium at our Paisley Campus.

“UWS is strategically committed to providing sustainable, contemporary and inspirational learning environments.  We aim to be the most technologically enabled University in the UK, with the most modern, outstanding and varied pedagogic methods of delivery.  This will underpin our person-centred approach to learning that prepares graduates for future success.  The University’s continued investment in facilities and services place its students in a particularly strong position in the sector.

“We are extremely proud of our Paisley Campus and are particularly pleased that The Princess Royal will also get the opportunity to view new facilities across the Campus and meet a range of colleagues involved in these new developments and their use.”

Areas visited will include the University’s Library and Learning Resource Centre where an insight into the new Student Hub, which brings together frontline services for students alongside formal and informal learning spaces and café facilities, and the work being done to support students will be provided; the Interactive Learning Studio; the new open plan Research, Enterprise and Engagement Zone, which is accessed by students, academics and commercial partners; and new social spaces and touchdown points on Campus which have been installed as part of a £12 million IT development project. This investment in IT builds upon the University’s commitment to provide the highest standards of learning and teaching, enabling UWS to produce highly employable, IT-literate graduates who have bold aspirations for themselves and their communities and are able to enter the modern world of work fully equipped to excel in their chosen field.

The studio of Professor Alexander Stoddart, HM Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland, which is based at Paisley Campus, will also be visited by Her Royal Highness during her time at the University.

UWS prides itself on its outstanding teaching and exceptional learning and was recently shortlisted in the ‘Most Improved Student Experience’ category of the prestigious, national Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2015. This award nomination is testament to UWS’ strong commitment to providing student-centred, personalised and distinctive learning and teaching experiences underpinned by professionally relevant research, knowledge exchange and enterprise.

It is a hugely exciting time to study at UWS as is highlighted by the fact that the University received a 4 star rating in the ‘WhatUni’ Student Choice Awards 2015. The results are based on averages taken from reviews submitted by students to the national university search website, over the past year. This rating emphasises quality of the student experience at UWS.

We Hope You are Enjoying Your Stay

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The school is currently hosting a number of students over in Scotland from Finland on Erasmus Scholarship visits. They come from Metropolia University in Helsinki, Finland and are all 2nd year student nurses there. The group arrived on the 18th January to complete a three month placement in Health Visiting, Accident and Emergency and Mental Health clinical areas. They are being looked after by Chris Collins our Erasmus Lead.

Three of the students, Hanna Peltronen, Sanna Toivonen and Anna Vuorensyria are pictured below with some more recognisable faces; Cate O’Kane and Charlotte Fairley.

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Our apologies about the weather so far, its usually colder, sunnier and less wet and windy!



Say Hello to our New Staff

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A warm welcome to Dr. Rhoda MacCrae has been appointed as a Lecturer in Dementia within the Alzheimer Scotland Policy and Practice Centre. Her role will largely be related to developing the dementia related enterprise activities. This work will include developing a programme of CPD, working on the Dementia Champions programme, working with staff associated with the centre across the school on dementia related enterprise.  Rhoda will also continue to work on the European Dementia Palliare Erasmus+ project and develop her research interests around advanced dementia and bereavement.


Rhoda has over 13 years of post doctoral research and enterprise experience with a keen interest in knowledge exchange, use of evidence in practice, qualitative methodologies and evaluation. Before joining UWS, Rhoda worked at the University of Edinburgh on an ESRC funded knowledge exchange project. She was also Independent sector lead on the Reshaping Care for Older People Programme in North Lanarkshire.  Rhoda has been commissioned as an independent research and development consultant by a variety of health and social care organisations.  Prior to this she worked at the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) for 2 years and the Social Work Research Centre, University of Stirling for 4 years.  She did both her PhD (Sociology) and MSc (Applied Social Science) at the University of Stirling. This was after being awarded a Research Training Fellowship by the Chief Scientist’s Office during which time she was seconded to the University of Glasgow from her practitioner role within the NHS.

Welcome also to Jade Birkin our new School Service Delivery Administrator (Research). In this role Jade will be supporting Laura MacFarlane for the Institute of Healthcare Policy and Practice. She will be the primary contact for all PhD students within the School.

Jade Birkin Profile

Previously she was ‘Postgraduate Administrator’ at The University of Edinburgh within The Graduate School Office of Social and Political Science. In this role, she gained extensive knowledge of the HE sector in Scotland and throughout the rest of the UK from working with External Examiners as well as administrating online distance learning programmes and joint blended learning courses with other universities. She also administered the organisation for several Post Graduate Programmes. Overseeing the learning and progression of a variety of  students and supporting academic staff. She also participated in event organisation and was the first point of contact for queries within their graduate school. As jade says she thrives in a busy and sociable environment and is am pleased to now be part of the Institute in her new role.


Finally welcome to David Innes who joined the School in September as Project Manager for ‘My Home Life Scotland’ – the Institute of Healthcare Policy and Practice’s highly successful enterprise project which aims to promote quality of life for those living, dying, visiting and working in care homes for older people through relationship-centred and evidence based practice.

David Innes Profile


His role includes being an ambassador for the My Home Life social movement, routine and special event administration, impact evaluation, management of contracts and finance, policy and procedure development, and developing a range of stakeholder communication strategies.

For more information about ‘My Home Life’ visit:

Previously he spent 7 years employed by the British Council working across a range of international education projects including the DFID funded ‘Connecting Classrooms’ programme which aims to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to work in a globalised economy.

He has a have a BA (Hons) in History and Politics from the University of Stirling and an MSc. in Nationalism Studies from Edinburgh University.