Health / Junior doctors to be honoured with virtual ceremony in hospital canteen after coronavirus cancels graduation

Lerwick's Gilbert Bain Hospital.

SIX medical students who have spent the last two months in Shetland are due to graduate as doctors this afternoon – in the Gilbert Bain Hospital’s canteen in a virtual ceremony live on Facebook.

The University of Aberdeen students were unable to return to Aberdeen for their real graduation – which has since been cancelled – due to coronavirus.


Their own ceremony, however, will take place in the hospital canteen at 3pm and it will be live streamed to the public through NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson’s Facebook page.

Shetland News hopes to be able to embed the video on our website.

The junior doctors had arrived in the isles at the beginning of March for the final eight weeks of their medical training ahead of their graduation and a month’s holiday before commencing work.

However, they will now only leave for the mainland in August after volunteering to stay in Shetland to help out during the coronavirus pandemic.


NHS Shetland director of medical education Pauline Wilson said: “They have hit the deck running facing the biggest health emergency the world has ever seen.

“What is so incredible is that they have all volunteered to sacrifice their holiday, which after years of study is well earned, to stay on and serve the Shetland community until this is over.”

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson said: “From all of us we wish them well in their careers and thank them for so quickly stepping up to help a community in need during a very difficult time.”


The real graduation ceremony would have taken place at the University of Aberdeen in July with their parents present, but they will now be graduated in absentia.

They will be led into the Gilbert Bain canteen to the tune of Gaudeamus Igitur. They will be capped before reciting the Hippocratic Oath.

Colleagues will be on hand to applaud them though when they leave the canteen. In the new graduates’ honour staff in the Gilbert Bain Hospital will all wear the scrubs made over the last few weeks by the local community to help ease pressure on hospital gowns during the coronavirus emergency.

The six junior doctors are:

  • Bianca-Rose Low
  • Alisdair Phillips
  • Ellen Parkinson
  • Calum McCoss
  • Lucy Buchanan
  • Samuel Nixon