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Preston nurse receives fourth qualification with her PhD

Posted on - 21st July, 2023 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, People, Preston News, Proud Preston, UCLan, University campus
Alison McLoughlin received her PhD during the UCLan graduation ceremonies

A Preston nurse celebrated her fourth qualification from UCLan last week after overcoming grief, juggling studies alongside working with the NHS and a busy family life.

Dr Alison McLoughlin trained at the University of Central Lancashire to become a nurse.

Over the years she’s returned to study alongside working for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where she is a stroke specialist nurse and academic research nurse.

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Now she’s graduated with a PhD having completed her thesis which was evaluating evidence to informa the development of a standardised observation schedule for people who’ve had a stroke.

The 46-year-old said: “I have worked in multiple clinical and research roles over my career and have observed variation in the way that neurological assessment and monitoring is completed in practice.

“There are no specific guidelines about what, how, when, and over what period patients should be monitored to identify important changes in neurological status after stroke except for a very small number of patients.

“Through better identification of neurological deterioration and where possible treatment of underlying causes there is a real potential to improve outcomes for some patients.”

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Alison is Preston born and bred having attended St Cecilia’s Roman Catholic High School in Longridge and then Cardinal Newman College.

Her studies at UCLan started 18 years ago when she completed her diploma in higher education nursing in 2013 and since then has returned to gain a certificate in critical care skills development and a master of science in advanced stroke practice.

Alison faced serious challenges to her masters degree study as she lost her Dad while undertaking her studies and her nine-year-old newphew passed away and her niece then died at birth. She said it was a period of deep, personal grief for her and her family.

She paid tribute to her husband Ian, and their two children 15-year-old daughter Tegan and son Niall, 13, who helped her stay the course with her studies.

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Alison said: “I am just over the moon, absolutely ecstatic. The PhD route can be tough and the pandemic did not make it any easier. However, I had fantastic support from my supervisors. I will be forever grateful to them, my colleagues, my participants and expert group members, and family and friends for supporting me and my work through this process.

“Completing my PhD means I have widened and developed my networks in both clinical practice and academic arenas; I feel I’m in a great position to build on this work and develop further to become an independent researcher of the future. It is so nice to celebrate this achievement with others today, and I hope that the hard work and perseverance that it has taken to get to this point will be an inspiration for my children in the future.”

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