Lisnaskea woman enters pharmacy career thanks to South West College

Former Access student, Fiona McDonald from Lisnaskea in County Fermanagh, left school at 16 years. She was never encouraged to go on ahead to college as the options weren’t available at the time and were sent straight into work at a young age with no formal qualifications.
Fiona worked in a nursing home and a colleague had asked her if she’d be interested in getting into nursing during this time. The Ulster University Access Course at South West College’s Enniskillen campus was mentioned as an option to get into education again and pursue this career.

Fiona attended an open day in 2010 and was encouraged by the information and support received at this event by those she spoke to from the college and started the course in the same year.

“It was very daunting to start. It had been 17 years since I’d put pen to paper and written an essay but the tutors were so helpful and supportive during my time in the college”.

One aspect that sticks out for Fiona was studying The Great Gatsby during her course alongside her daughter, who was studying the same book at school.

The pursuit of a nursing career changed and ambitions to work in pharmacy took over. She got a job in the hospital pharmacy and has since been promoted to a band 5 post in the pharmaceutical department. Part of her responsibilities is now to conduct interviews for new employees joining the department in SWAH.

“I have opened up doors for opportunities and have become a role model for my own children by pushing on to achieve my career goals. I have a lot to be thankful for and that includes the tutors and team at South West College”.

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