The value of a university qualification has never been more relevant as thousands of students prepare for life in the post-COVID world. Getting your degree has never been so important.

Sunderland Vibe met with three graduates from the University of Sunderland. All three each have made a life-changing impact on their community after securing their dream jobs.

The Nurse: Stacy Humphrey

It has been an interesting three months for Stacy, who graduated from the University’s Adult Nursing programme in April. Within days, the 22-year-old found herself on the NHS frontline at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Stacy, from Fulwell in Sunderland, played her part in helping support the service during an unprecedented time in its history.

The trainee nurse went on to achieve a First-Class Honours degree. She has now landed her dream job working as an A&E Nurse at South Tyneside District Hospital.

Stacy, a former pupil of Monkwearmouth School, said: “I have loved my time at the University. The teaching and support has been fantastic, the facilities are outstanding, and I believe that it has been a great start to my nursing career.”

The graduate also picked up this year’s Helen McArdle Nursing Prize after excelling in her studies and demonstrating a commitment to student affairs.

Stacy was a School of Nursing and Health Sciences co-ordinator and students’ representative on the University’s Board of Governors.

Stacy added: “I was surprised and overwhelmed when I received the email informing me of being the 2020 recipient of the Helen McArdle Nursing Prize, it’s fantastic news.”



The Pharmacist: Emma Boxer

Emma Boxer landed her dream job as a hospital pharmacist earlier this year.

The 23-year-old began her new career as a lead pharmacist at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust outpatients’ department at a time when the pandemic was putting huge pressure on NHS services.

Emma, however, was fully prepared for the challenge that faced her. She said:

“Pharmacists play an important role in making sure patients have all of their medication and don’t have to worry about obtaining supplies over the coming months.

“I think the profession as a whole has done an amazing job in pulling together and providing patients with what they need.”

Emma believes it was the opportunities and skills she developed during her year as an academic pre-registration pharmacist.

Spending her week split between a community pharmacy, Burdons in Whickham, Gateshead, and working as an academic tutor in the University of Sunderland’s Sciences Complex.

She added: “The skills I developed during my pre-registration year at Sunderland ticked all the boxes when I applied for this job.

“The role will involve lots of different elements, including being the point of contact for the pharmacy superintendent, delivering clinical services for outpatients and delivering staff training.”


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