Clare Carroll, wearing a cap and gown and a lilac dress, smiles at the camera.
Nurse Clare Carroll has finally celebrated her graduation in memory of her dad.

A nurse graduate who led her ward during the pandemic has finally celebrated her graduation in her dad’s memory. 

Clare Carroll began working as a staff nurse at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals in March 2020 and she embraced the challenges she faced in her new career but the Covid-19 pandemic broke out a short while later. 

The 39-year-old from Preston admitted that working as a qualified nurse during this time was “a very scary reality at the start”. 

“The pandemic came along soon after I started my new job and nursing life changed rapidly,” she said. 

“Visiting had been stopped, patients were very poorly and three months into qualifying I found myself taking charge of the ward due to staff sickness – something I never envisaged ever doing. 

“The pandemic has been a very scary time to qualify but knowing that I have been able to play a very small part in a wider team to help the patients either get better or hold the hands of those at the end of their lives has enabled me to strengthen my nursing qualities.” 

Clare found out her dad John had terminal cancer while she was studying at Edge Hill and she, with support from her husband Martin, became her dad’s main carer. 

“Being able to finally attend my graduation ceremony means so much to me, it was an emotional day. 

“My dad vowed from the day of his diagnosis that he could not pass away because he had his daughter’s graduation to go to. 

“Unfortunately, while I was on placement in second year my dad took his last breath and sadly passed away – fortunately I had been to see him the day before and told him how much I loved him.” 

Clare believes nursing “comes naturally” because, since the age of seven she also cared for her mum Jackie who had epilepsy, until she died when Clare was 13. 

“Nursing was possibly my destiny,” she added. “So when I was offered a place on the nursing programme at Edge Hill I was ecstatic; not only does the university boast a very good reputation but it is set in amazing grounds.” 

Clare thanked Edge Hill for giving her the opportunity to expand her skill set and take on extra responsibilities including being a student rep in her first year and a peer mentor in her second; she also spent time as a student quality ambassador and won the University’s Student Nurse of the Year accolade in adult nursing. 

This dedication has continued into her fledgeling career and, in addition to her regular duties, she is also the Palliative Link nurse for her ward in cardiology; she has been assigned her own set of students to guide and she has signed up for mentorship and intermediate life support programmes. 

“I would like to say a huge thank you to Tracey Barnes my personal tutor for looking after me through the very hard three years of my degree,” she added. “And thank you to Edge Hill University as a whole, I am a very proud graduate.” 

Tracey Barnes, Senior Lecturer in Nurse Education and Clare’s tutor, added: “Clare was one of those students that despite adversity – and she certainly had more than her fair share over the three-year programme – kept striving to work hard and with only a few words of encouragement stepped out of her comfort zone and really embraced all that the university has to offer. 

“It is clear from her story that this determination is paying off. Clare will go on to even bigger and better things during her career and will do very well in whatever role she takes on. 

“It was a pleasure to be part of her success story and I wish her well.” 

Start your journey into nursing with training from one of the leading providers in the North West. Here you can take advantage of top facilities, including our new Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre, home to human patient simulators which can imitate a range of symptoms.