A nursing student who was identified by one of her classmates as “one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met” has not only graduated today but has also been awarded a prestigious Chancellor’s scholarship.

Rachel Gittons (22) from Stockport has just graduated from the Learning Disabilities Nursing degree and has already secured her first job at a hospital in Greater Manchester.

This year, she also made it onto the shortlist of the student Nursing Times awards for Student Nurse of the Year: Learning Disabilities and was involved in the national Learning Disabilities (LD) Champion campaign. As well as promoting LD Champions to schools and the wider community, she has also raised awareness of the specialism and placements to student nurses studying in other fields of nursing.

She has presented at the Positive Choices conference about her role as Student Quality Ambassador and was the first student nurse to support lecturers in promoting learning disabilities nursing with her lecturers at Edge Hill open days.

The Chancellor’s Scholarship, worth £2,000, celebrates students who help to raise the profile of Edge Hill in a positive way through their exceptional contribution to the University.

Callum Finch, who also graduated today and nominated Rachel for the scholarship said: “Rachel is one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met. She is clearly going to go a long way and make big changes and make a difference in many people’s lives.”

Rachel said: “I am excited so excited about graduating and being part of the best nursing field about! From being dyslexic and being behind, I never thought I’d end up here.

“I was quite shocked about the scholarship. I was so happy to even be nominated by my fellow colleague Callum who is also my best friend.  It is a real honour and I’m proud of what I have achieved over three years at Edge Hill University.

Julie Toms-Ashcroft, Associate Head of Nurse Education, added: “It was clear on day one that Rachel had a passion and commitment for learning disabilities nursing. She exemplifies the qualities of a true learning disabilities nurse in that she strives to develop herself, and more importantly others, so that she and they can become knowledgeable and skilful supporters, carers and advocates for people with learning disabilities.”

Learn more about Rachel’s placements here.

Find out more about studying Learning Disability Nursing at Edge Hill University here.