Sarah Macleod

Graduated from Lews Castle College UHI (distance learning) in 2011 with an MA in Health & Wellbeing

My past and my present

I have been in my current roles with NHS Highland for several years. The reason I decided to undertake the MA was due to being on secondment to a role where a Masters degree was a requirement. Therefore I commenced my course to meet that requirement. I am no longer on secondment to that particular role.

Over all studying at Masters level has been an enormous benefit to my current roles within Maternity Services for NHS Highland. It has given me a deep knowledge base of the policy context in which services are embedded. I am now able to transfer that knowledge and understanding into my every day work particularly at a strategic level – much of my work does involve strategy development. Having studied ethics and governance at the post graduate diploma stage this has provided me with confidence to contribute effectively to this vital component of health care. My final research project allowed me to explore the literature and a wealth of evidence to support my study resulting in successful completion of my dissertation the results of which will I hope provide a positive contribution to the on going challenges of ensuring practitioners providing maternity services in remote & rural areas are able to so safely and with confidence.

My future

Given my age I am likely to be approaching retirement 10 years from now, however, in the interim time I would like to think that I can continue to contribute positively and effectively to the on going debates and challenges of remote & rural health care. My studies have enabled me to extensively broaden my knowledge and understanding of this important area of work both from a national and international perspective. I would like to have the opportunity to perhaps engage further in the development of this particular MA course around my area of expertise. I think that this course could benefit from a module around women’s health/maternity services etc. in relation to remote & rural practice.

My advice

Students contemplating undertaking study at Masters level should be prepared for a fairly arduous journey particularly when combining this level of commitment with employment which is likely to be fairly challenging in itself if they are considering studying at Masters level. Family life is of course a huge consideration and support here is vital. The rewards along the way are amazing, passing first essay, then module, then the required components that make up the final goal – bite size chunks! There will of course be times of despair but support from course tutors, student advisers etc. is always at hand – don’t let things get out of control, early intervention is vital. Careers may depend on having a higher degree but if not the sense of achievement is wonderful regardless of age – never too late consider an academic challenge at this level.