Tears of joy for award-winning graduate


Date: 6th Sep 2018

A hard-working graduate said she burst into tears of joy when she was told she had won an award for achieving the highest mark in her dissertation.

Nicola Wahl, who studied BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) with NMC Registration, was presented with the Roy Darby Award for Educational Excellence in a graduation ceremony at the Wycombe Swan theatre.

Nicola, pictured with Roy Darby, is a Community Staff Nurse with Ealing District Nurses, part of London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, and achieved 90 per cent for her dissertation, The Challenges Faced by District Nurses Giving Palliative Care in the Community. 

Roy Darby, a former Chief Executive of what was South Bucks NHS Trust, is also a former Chair of Council at Bucks New University.

Nicola Wahl and Roy Darby
Nicola said: “I was in total shock and burst into tears when I received the letter - I had no idea I had achieved the highest mark in my cohort.

“To be recognised for this achievement is so rewarding and I feel so proud of myself.

“I had put so much time and effort into making it the best piece of work I have ever written, not only because I find it enriching, but for my own learning in preparation for my career.”

Speaking about her job, she added: “I am loving working with Ealing District Nurses. I am still settling in and I am only recently out lone working, following an induction period where I was supported by hard working, talented staff.

“The staff, patients and service provided by Ealing is exceptional and everyone works so hard under very challenging conditions.

“I plan on staying within a community setting. I want to complete the District Nursing course within the next year, developing my skills and ultimately progress into a leadership and management role. I also hope to continue studying things that interest me throughout my career, because I find it so enriching and challenging.”

Speaking about studying at Bucks New University, she said: “I found Bucks New University a fantastic learning environment.

“It balances independent learning and class taught sessions well.

"The support provided by facilities such as the Learning Development Unit and the Librarians is invaluable. I was able to arrange group sessions with Librarians, who gave detailed tutorials, and I credit my understanding of how to literature search to them.

"I have made friends for life and feel set up for my future as a nurse.”

Nicola said in five years she hoped to have progressed to a role as a qualified District Nurse in a leadership or management role.

She added: “Being able to directly influence care in the community for the better, which is becoming ever more dependant, is amazing and I aim to continue this throughout my career, aiming to constantly improve this growing, fantastic service.

"Patients are at the heart of everything I have achieved and will achieve.”

Phill Hoddinott, Programme Leader for BSc (Hons) Nursing at Bucks New University, said: “Nicola has clearly worked extremely hard and produced an excellent piece of academic work that has looked at palliative care provision in the community setting.

“It is clear that her interest in this clinical area has helped her to complete this and gain excellent marks. We are extremely proud of Nicola’s achievement.”


  • Our University
  • Our Students
  • Our Alumni
  • Healthcare, Social Work & Education