Fort William student selected for care award

A student from Fort William has received an award which recognises the skills and qualities valued in integrated health and social care.

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Eleanor Barrie with Sandra Palicka

Sandra Palicka (19) recently completed an HNC in social services with the University of the Highlands and Islands at West Highland College UHI. She was selected for the Ina Maciver Award in light of her upbeat attitude, her commitment and the positive impact she has on her clients’ lives.

The award was created in memory of Ina Maciver, the university’s former subject network leader for health and social care, who was devoted to learning, teaching and to students’ personal development. Sponsored by NHS Highland, the award is presented to a University of the Highlands and Islands’ health or social care student each year.

Sandra was nominated for the award by her course leader and lecturer, Andy Gibb. He explains:

“Sandra has battled with anxiety throughout her time at West Highland College UHI. Although she has developed ways to cope with this, it is a regular challenge for her. Sandra has maintained a fantastic, positive attitude throughout her studies. She is an extremely conscientious student who has provided consistently high quality work and who regularly goes ‘the extra mile.’

“I have now known Sandra for three years, from level 5 through to level 7 courses. During this time, I have seen her develop and mature as both a student and professional. This year alone I have seen her progress at a considerable rate through her commitment to learning and her work at a local company supporting adults with considerable and complex needs. I have received very encouraging feedback about the positive impact she has on her clients’ lives.”
Sandra was presented with a trophy and a cheque for £100 by Eleanor Barrie, an advanced social work practitioner with NHS Highland, at West Highland College UHI’s graduation ceremony on Friday 11 October.
Before she was nominated for the award, Sandra was also announced as West Highland College UHI’s student of the year for higher education.  

Speaking about the awards, Sandra said:

“I was in complete shock when I had found out I had won these awards - it definitely wasn't something I expected! The lecturers on this course have been incredibly supportive and it is this support that has increased my passion for working in social care. They have also helped me make a firm plan for my career and I am excited to be taking the first steps towards reaching my long term goals.”

Sandra has now completed her HNC and is planning to complete a Modern Apprenticeship with West Highland College UHI to gain more work experience ahead of taking up a deferred place to study for a BA in learning disabilities nursing in Glasgow in 2020.