The inaugural Victoria Thompson Scholarships have been awarded to two nurses in memory of a baby girl from Moville in Co. Donegal.

Comedian Tommy Tiernan presented two NUI Galway nursing students studying the new Masters in Children’s Palliative and Complex Care with the scholarships which will impact many young lives.

Presentation of The Victoria Thompson Scholarships

The event which took place in The School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galwat proved to be another example of the hugely positive impact that one little girl will have on the lives of others. Discover the story of the foundation of The Victoria Thompson Memorial Fund and Scholarship hereA wish in memory of a magical baby girl.

“I’m never ceased to be amazed by where she takes us and who she touches,” Victoria’s mother Sharon Thompson told Donegal Woman.

Now, with the help of a €1,000 scholarship, two nurses have gained extra support to complete a programme in Children’s Palliative and Complex Care.

The dedicated Masters/Postgraduate Degree programme in Health Sciences specialising in children’s palliative and complex care, aims to equip nurses with the necessary skills for the increasing numbers of children and adolescents who have complex, life-limiting or terminal conditions and require care in a variety of settings (hospital or community), according to child and family preference.

Dr Georgina Gethin, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, stated: “It is timely that this first scholarship is awarded in the very same week that the School of Nursing and Midwifery has been recognised for its work and nominated in the Top 100 Globally for the subject nursing in the 2017 QS World University Subject Rankings.

“We are delighted with the opportunity this scholarship provides for nurses to further their studies and acquire new knowledge and skills in this highly specialised and very challenging field of nursing. We wish the recipients every success and know that they will make a positive impact on the lives of so many children and their families.”

The Victoria Thompson Scholarship was established to assist nurses in obtaining specialist qualifications in the care of children with terminal and life limiting conditions. The scholarship was set up in memory of baby Victoria Thompson who lived for exactly nine months and required the help of specialist paediatric palliative care nurses as a result of a rare disease. It is run by Victoria’s parents Sharon and Brian Thompson from Donegal.

NUI Galway students of the new Masters/Postgraduate Degree in Health Sciences, Anne Browne and Aisling Devitt, were the proud recipients of the scholarships.

Commenting on the scholarship, Victoria’s mother, Sharon Thompson, said: “When we were told Victoria’s condition was rare and terminal, we found it difficult to find specialised nursing care for her. In her memory we highlight the need for rural palliative care services for children.

“Families should automatically get access to options of care for a child with complex or palliative medical needs. Skilled nurses and this new course at NUI Galway are key to this happening for children all over the country.”

Anne Brown and Tommy Tiernan

Speaking about the new programme and her scholarship award, Nurse Aisling Devitt, said: “It can be difficult to work with children and families in such tough circumstances and the more education we have about palliative and complex care can only help us to be become better practitioners.

“It’s fantastic that NUI Galway has recognised this Health Service need as the numbers of children increases significantly. It has also been great to see nurses from all corners of Ireland attending the course to help bring the knowledge and skills back to our individual work places and encourage others to consider doing further education in this area, or at the very least highlight the important role we play in caring for these children and their families.

“It is also an honour to receive the Victoria Thompson Scholarship and I am delighted to be able to put it towards the second year of the programme this September.”

Applications for the second intake of the NUI Galway programme are being accepted from Spring 2017 at:

For more information about the Victoria Thompson Scholarship visit: