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Degree enables nurse to pursue research interests into menopause

Tuesday 09 July 2024 Graduation Ceremonies take place at the University of Wales Trinity Saint Davids.

A FORMER nurse has graduated with a degree in BSc in Health, Nutrition and Lifestyle at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) this week.

Tracy John, from St Davids, also received the Sport, Health, and Outdoor Education prize at the ceremony held on the University’s Carmarthen campus on Tuesday, 9 July.  

After a career as a nurse spanning 30 years, which saw her work in hospital settings before transitioning to primary care in a GP surgery for the past two decades, Tracy decided to return to education to follow her interest in Health, Nutrition and Lifestyle. She says:

“My decision to pursue this course stemmed from a long-standing interest in nutrition and health. Despite my extensive nursing experience, I had never received formal training in nutrition. The degree’s focus on the chemistry and significance of nutrition in health captivated me. Additionally, having spent years advocating for the importance of exercise, I was intrigued by the opportunity to understand the biological changes the body undergoes.

My primary ambition was to use this degree to specialise in obesity management. I aimed to deepen my understanding of nutrition and health to better support patients struggling with obesity.

“My interest in menopause was sparked during my second year when I chose to research menopause for a physiology assignment. This project allowed me to explore how menopause affects women’s health, revealing the significant impact of this life-changing event. Consequently, I dedicated my dissertation to studying ‘The prevalence of menopausal symptoms and the influence of lifestyle.’

“I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the degree. However, I was particularly surprised by my newfound interest in research and statistics, which became a highlight of my academic journey”.

Tracy found that being a mature student presented both advantages and challenges.  Her extensive nursing background provided valuable personal and professional experience, but it also meant that she had been away from academia for some time.   However, spending extra time to develop her academic skills has enabled her to achieve her goals.  She continues:

“The course has been immensely beneficial on a personal level. It has instilled a sense of pride in my achievements and reinforced my belief in the power of determination. I would encourage anyone to take a leap of faith and pursue their academic goals”.

“My current ambition is to secure funding/sponsorship to continue my research on menopause as I am committed to making a meaningful difference in women’s lives, both now and in the future, through continued research and advocacy”.

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Dylan Blain, Academic Director: Sport and Healthy Living said:

“Tracy has consistently produced work of an excellent standard throughout her time on the BSc Health, Nutrition and Lifestyle programme at the University of Wales Trinty Saint David. The hard work and dedication clearly put in throughout her studies makes her a worthy winner of the SHOE award this year.”

“It is wonderful to see Tracy and her peers rewarded at the Carmarthen graduation ceremonies and all of the staff are proud of their efforts throughout their studies. The Health, Nutrition and Lifestyle programme is externally accredited with the Association for Nutrition and so provides graduates with the added benefit of being awarded a degree and also being eligible for Registered Associate Nutritionist status by Direct Entry providing graduates with an excellent grounding into the profession”