A graduate has turned her hand to sculpting a better future for patients at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

Having graduated from Cardiff Metropolitan University with a degree in Fine Arts, 28-year-old Paisley resident Danielle Adair is now putting her artistic talents to use in a whole new medium, creating facial prosthetics as a Trainee Reconstructive Scientist.

Known as Maxillofacial Prosthetics, the practice involves using handcrafted prosthetics to rehabilitate patients with facial injuries or disfigurements. Danielle’s training is taking place within the Maxillofacial Laboratory at the Glasgow hospital.

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Danielle, who is originally from Northern Ireland, said making prosthetics is “taking art to the next level."

She added: "I’m sculpting and painting things that are completely unique, so it’s a wonderful challenge for me. We paint every eye ourselves, and sculpt every ear and nose by hand.”

Despite her arts background, this role has offered Danielle the chance to engage a long held passion for the sciences.

She said: “Growing up I loved science and art. I really wanted to do science, and I was in two minds about which I should choose. My dad wanted me to do science too, but I chose art.”

As such, she jumped at the opportunity to combine her artistic and her scientific interests - especially in the cause of helping others.

She said: “When I heard about Maxillofacial Prosthetics, I knew it was for me. It’s a job that lets me do something that improves someone’s life, for the rest of their life.”

The unusual journey from Fine Arts to facial reconstruction has not been a straightforward one though, with a Masters in Forensic Art and Patient Identification at Dundee University followed by a degree in Dental Technology at the University of Worcester.

Only after all this was she able to successfully apply for the job at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde which itself incorporates a Masters degree in Reconstructive Science. In gaining her training post, Danielle became one of the first Scottish students to benefit from joining the Scientist Training Program - an NHS three-year program of work-based learning, supported by a university accredited master's degree.

After all the hard work, Danielle could not be happier with her new job.

She said: “I’m halfway through my three-year Masters degree, and I love it.

"I love the patients and the people I work with. I need to spend a lot of time with patients so I get to build a real rapport with them.

"It’s hard to describe how satisfying it is to help them, just so they feel they can leave the house again, or see their kids or grandkids.

“And every day is different. I work with people who have suffered cancer or trauma, really devastating illnesses or injuries, and I help them to rebuild their lives.”

Although she has received lots of positive feedback on her work, Danielle has no desire to take the limelight.

“This is hidden artwork,” she said, “and that’s just the way I like it. The better I do it, the fewer people will know it’s there. I want my work to be part of the people I help – to be truly invisible.”

Such is her contentment in the new role, Danielle implores others to find similar ways to follow their own creative instincts.

She said: “I’m so happy I’ve found this career. But it’s almost like it’s not just for me. I would love nothing more than to say to a 16-year-old like me – someone not sure where art can take them beyond painting and sculpture – ‘this is what you can do. Never give up on what you really want’.”

Sadly, Danielle’s dad Alan passed away last year - though not before seeing his daughter secure her fulfilling new career.

She added: “My dad was my cheerleader in everything I did and I’m glad he knew I got this post.

“He was so proud of me for chasing my dream and wanting to help others with my artistic abilities to get their lives back after what cancer or trauma took away from them.”