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Diana McIlrath Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Public Health Practice: Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN), 2016

Health Visitor for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Diana McIlrath's Photo

Hi, I'm Diana McIlrath and I studied Public Health Practice: Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) at the University of Southampton.

I love my job! It is an amazing feeling to help make a difference in someone’s life and to empower people to make decisions for themselves.

What made you select the University of Southampton for your postgraduate study?

I was seconded to Southampton University by my employing health trust but requested the University of Southampton for its ideal location.

What is Southampton like as a place to study?

Southampton is a lovely place to study. The University grounds are inspiring and the close proximity of facilities on Highfield campus to the city makes Southampton University a great place to be. It was particularly useful to have so many facilities located on the main Highfield campus and to be able to access so much support on line.

What did you enjoy about the course?

I won’t lie, the course was really hard; but I particularly enjoyed the social policy module. It was great to be able to engage with the other students and learn from our experiences.

Did you participate in any extra-curricular activities?

I chose not to participate in extra-curricular activities as I had family commitments as well as the my time consuming course to contend with. I did however access the Chaplaincy team and the onsite services that they offer when based in University.

How useful did you find your clinical placements?

The course was 50% placement 50% university. I really enjoyed placements as this is when the ‘penny dropped’ and theory and practice really came together. I was well supported throughout placements to ensure I fulfilled my assessment of practice documentation.

What is your current profession?

I am now a Health Visitor with a local NHS trust.

How do your experiences of clinical placements support your current profession?

Placements were key to my PGDip, however while they taught me the back bone of my profession there is still capacity for me to learn further.

What have been the highlights of your career to date?

I love my job! It is an amazing feeling to help make a difference in someone’s life and to empower people to make decisions for themselves.

Do you have any plans for your future carer progression?

I am considering the top up to the full masters which would help progression in the future. Right now though I am content with what I have achieved and am enjoying my job.

What tips would you give to current students?

It’s a really challenging course – organisation is crucial and ensure you have the right determination.

What advice would you give to a student starting their post graduate study at Southampton?

Postgraduate study can be tough – there are generally more demands to balance and more self directed study to achieve. Be organised, use study time well but enjoy it too.

What are you most proud of?

I was awarded my first degree in 1999 and it has been 9 years since I completed any form of study. I am most proud of passing my PGDip with distinction and juggling the full time course with family life.

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