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How family heartache inspired Lurgan nurse Sinead to pursue dream career

By Rebecca Black

Lurgan woman Sinead Campbell may be just one of scores of nurses graduating today, but already she has been at the coal face of her profession in the most heartbreaking of circumstances.

As she worked hard to realise her dream of becoming a nurse, she was also caring for her father as he battled terminal cancer.

She said he “beamed with pride” as he grew to understand the loving care and attention that nurses are renowned for through his daughter looking after him.

Sinead not only fulfilled both her caring responsibilities and studies, but also excelled and is graduating with a first class honours degree in adult nursing.

While her father did not survive to see his daughter graduate, Sinead says he will be there in her heart. “My dad won’t be there in person, but he will be there in my heart and I know he will be beaming with pride as I pick up my degree,” she said.

“It was as I was approaching the final year of my degree that dad became very ill.

“It destroyed my whole family. He had never really understood what nursing was until he was on the receiving end of it.

“Then he beamed with pride, as he appreciated first-hand what being a nurse was all about.

“When he was approaching death, I cried to him, saying I couldn’t go on, my heart was so broken. But he looked at me and said, ‘be brave’.

“When he passed away, that’s exactly what I did — carried on through the heartache and ended up passing my final exams.”

Celebrating with Sinead on her important day will be her mum Roisin, granny Rosaleen, partner Barry and their young daughter Kayla Rose.

In testament to Queen’s reputation for meeting the needs of Northern Ireland’s employers, Sinead has already taken up a post as a staff nurse in the neurology department at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. She joins 94% of Queen’s students who are in employment or further study six months after graduating.

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