2020-nursing student wins top award

Nursing graduate wins top award against the odds

Fri, 18 Dec 2020 10:48:00 GMT
GCU nursing graduate Gertrude Munyambonera
GCU nursing graduate Gertrude Munyambonera

A mature nursing student who returned from maternity leave early to help out on the COVID-19 frontline has won the Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) Jessie Main award for overall highest academic achievement.

Gertrude Munyambonera, 39, went back to university a week after having a caesarean section with her fourth child and volunteered to work at NHS Golden Jubilee, near Glasgow, during the first wave of the pandemic.

Gertrude, originally from East Africa, who has children aged 17, 15, 10 and a one-year-old, recently graduated from GCU and is now working at NHS Golden Jubilee. She said she was stunned when she realised she had won the award.

She said: “I was overwhelmed with happiness when I found out I had won the Jessie Main award but I was also really shocked. I knew I had worked well and very hard to pass my course but I didn’t know I had exceeded that much and was top of the class.

“I had been pregnant with my fourth child during my third year and I came back to University just one week after a caesarean section, then I offered to go placement at NHS Golden Jubilee to help out during the first wave of the pandemic.

“Having three other kids in the house with a little baby and home-schooling during lockdown while studying and working wasn’t easy at all but I did it and my family are very proud of me.

“My 17-year-old son Regis, who also wants to be a nurse, said I have set the bar little bit too high for him.”

Gertrude’s personal tutor Dr Gordon Hill, School of Health and Life Sciences Cross-School International Lead, congratulated her on winning the award.

He said: “It truly is a testimony to Gertrude that she has won this prestigious award and she should be extremely proud of herself.

“I first met Gertrude in 2017 when I took over as her personal tutor and since then I have been deeply impressed by her perseverance and her attitude in completing her programme to the best of her ability.

“This culminated in her not only doing extremely well academically, but also being awarded As in her practice placements in third year. Unsurprisingly, this led to her being offered a position at NHS Golden Jubilee, where she did her placement.

“It is important also to note that, coming originally from East Africa, English is actually Gertrude’s fourth language, coming after Kinyarwanda, Swahili and French. However, if you ask Gertrude, she will describe English as her fourth ‘main’ language. Which is just amazing!”