RGU international graduates: From degrees to real-world health dilemmas

Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University (RGU) is recognised as a top university in Scotland for its high-quality teaching and strong graduate employability record. This was acknowledged in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), with RGU being presented a gold award, placing it in the top 20 percent of best universities in the UK for the quality of undergraduate teaching and learning.

The School of Health Sciences within RGU is at the forefront of producing practice-ready graduates.  With a strong portfolio of healthcare degrees at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, every course is designed to prepare students for work and meet the needs of local, national and international companies and organisations.  Through strong industry links and collaboration with partners, students learn the necessary skills that are in high demand now and in the future.  Courses adopt this ‘applied’ learning approach early on through placements and simulated learning, and with many courses also bearing accreditation from professional bodies, students graduate knowing their degree is industry recognised.

Further evidence that the school’s teaching methods translate into the real-world can be found in recent rankings which place RGU as the top university in Scotland and 2nd in the UK for health professions, with 99 percent of students in these subjects finding ‘careers after six months’ of graduating. A number of their undergraduate degrees have also been highly ranked; 2nd in the UK for Physiotherapy and Food Science, and 2nd in Scotland for Occupational Therapy.

A postgraduate student experience in health sciences

Many embark on postgraduate study to enhance their career, upskill, or completely change their career direction. RGU Alumni Bridget Kagwiria Mung’atia from Kenya gives us an insight into why she embarked on an MSc in Public Health and Health Promotion:

“Selecting the part-time online learning style meant that I could keep working while I was studying. From there, my learning was immediately applied to practice and I improved my academic writing, transforming my professional reports into well-structured arguments. I undertook virtual class tutorials interacting with staff and fellow students, I could access resources online even if I couldn’t engage synchronously and I found the content of the course to be extremely relevant to real life.”

Bridget Kagwiria Mung’atia – MSc in Public Health and Health Promotion

Prior to enrolling, Bridget was a qualified nurse with ambitions to further her career and specialise in health promotion. Following her dreams, Bridget commenced her Master’s at RGU and was immediately armed with the knowledge and confidence to be able to advocate for global health.

Obtaining a degree from a UK university was a conscious decision for Bridget – a prestigious achievement favoured in her home country. She is extremely proud of her degree and her success continues to grow as she gains experience in emergency programming and public health management.  She’s been recognised for her delivery of high-level services in public health, as well as her passion for community development.

Fast forward two years and Bridget has undoubtedly exceeded her career expectations. Her current role as a Health Cluster Co-Coordinator in Yemen means she can ensure a more coherent and effective humanitarian response by all international, national and local actors operating in the country’s health cluster. From developing strategic plans that advocate for better health resources in Yemen to becoming an experienced team leader with the ability to manage cross-functional teams and multi-disciplinary projects, RGU has had a lasting impact on Bridget’s career.

American RGU graduate Bobby Krier offers alternative reasoning for taking on postgraduate study.  After a decade of being a full-time musician, he changed his career and enrolled in the full-time MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration) degree.

Commenting on memorable lectures and workshops he attended at RGU, Bobby explains that, “All the different tutors and their approach towards the classes were brilliant. Each tutor had a different spin to what they would emphasise for their class.”

With regards to real-world experience at RGU, Bobby was exposed to many challenging yet rewarding opportunities.

“We had our first clinical placement within our first module and I started getting the real-world experience right away. I got to see what it was like to work as a physio from the start, to see how the NHS works and [it] offered me a ‘real-world’ perspective on physio.

“Being an American in Scotland, I had to learn a lot about cultural differences and how to curb my open and outgoing personality at times! It was incredibly valuable to me as I am now working with an extremely diverse population,” adds the graduate.

An undergraduate student experience in health sciences  

Reflecting on her experience, BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy graduate Orla Creed from Ireland said she chose RGU for several reasons.

Orla Creed – BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy

Aligning with her passions, interests and ambitions, the degree and extra-curricular activities gave her real-world exposure to elderly rehabilitation and patients with chronic respiratory conditions.

“During my time at RGU, I learnt a lot about communication. From leading exercise groups for over 60’s and learning to project my voice, to learning how to communicate respectfully at the bedside in ITU and everything in between.

“Studying at RGU also gave me confidence. I never felt afraid to ask for help and felt supported throughout the degree. Throughout placements, I could get in contact with the university at any time and there was always a lot to learn,” Orla explains.

After graduating with her Bachelor’s degree, Orla completed her application to work in New Zealand and took her first role with NHS Borders (Band 5 rotational physiotherapist) in 2010, completing rotations in Neurology, Medical/ITU, MSK outpatients and Elderly rehab.

Orla’s current role is in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy (MSK) for NHS Lothian, yet she has also worked with the Special Olympics since 2010 with various teams, moving towards a bigger role with ‘Healthy Athlete Screening’ during the latest games.

If you’re inspired by Bobby’s and Bridget’s postgraduate journey or Orla’s undergraduate venture at RGU, get in touch with the team today!

By opting for an undergraduate or postgraduate programme that suits your healthcare career goals, you too can connect with industry experts and amplify your expertise.  What are you waiting for?!

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