Collaborative Student Project Wins Mental Health Nursing Forum Scotland Award


Grace Notes -A project led by student nurses from UWS which created 6 new songs for Dementia Awareness Week in 2016 and has been awarded “Overall Winner” in the Mental Health Nursing Forum Scotland Awards on the 8th. November 2016.  The project was praised for its collaborative working between Commercial Music Students and final year Student Nurses based at Ayr Campus. It was initiated by Professor DebbieTolson, Director of Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Dementia Policy and Practice and Jim Prime, a lecturer at UWS and Deacon Blue’s keyboard player. The students were assisted by lecturers from the Mental Health and Adult Nursing teams at Ayr and from the School of Media Culture and Society. The collaboration also involved people living with dementia and their carers from the Alzheimers Resource Centre in Kilmarnock.

The nursing students helped the music students understand the positive effects that retelling stories and reliving memories can have on people living with dementia, whilst the music students translated the real memories of people with dementia into songs that were featured on Radio Scotland during Dementia Awareness week. In this way, a positive, hopeful message was conveyed that helped combat the often negative portrayal of dementia by the media. You can hear the songs at



Accepting the award on behalf of the students who were all at their graduations that day, was Allan Donnell Senior Lecturer in Mental Health at Ayr Campus. He commented,

“All of the students spoke about the privileged insights they gained from the project and they will be they are delighted to receive this award.”

The Mental Health Team are committed to helping students develop a deeper understanding not only of the challenges of the ageing population but also the increasing opportunities that education for and with the third age can bring.