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What is a typical day at work for you?  There is no typical day at work for me! That’s what I love about working at the University. Every day is different with many diverse challenges, but it ranges from face to face teaching, Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) meetings, to preparation for teaching – reading up on the latest research and evidence-based practice or marking submitted work. At other times, it can be liaising with other colleagues within the University and in clinical practice as well. In the fast pace of modern nursing and healthcare, what is being taught must be aligned to practice so this is an important aspect which I enjoy. 

What is your favourite part of your job?   

I enjoy seeing the ‘light bulb moment’ in students’ faces and them sharing in my passion and interest for the subject. Seeing students succeed in their programme of study and become a registered nurse is so wonderful. 

Can you think of one of your greatest student success stories?  Whilst I was in clinical practice, I was asked to be the mentor for a new first year, first placement student. It was so enjoyable to nurture the student from an overwhelmed, homesick, student with no experience to the student who at the end of placement had a real taste for Learning Disability Nursing and caring for a wide range of service users with a learning disability and had developed their own self confidence. I then taught the student and saw how she had developed by the end of her third year to a confident nurse, which was just wonderful.  

What has been your proudest moment whilst working at the University?  Every graduation I attend is a proud and emotional moment – knowing each of our students well helps to share in their success and joy.  Knowing the ups and downs on their own road of study makes it special. I feel proud in having been able to contribute to some of their learning and support them on their journey. My proudest moment was when the student who I first mentored in practice graduated and her whole family came over to thank me for helping their daughter and sister achieve her dream. That was very humbling to have feedback on.

Can you summarise your ‘Chester story’?  My first son who was born with Downs Syndrome inspired me to take a change of direction in my career to retrain from working in the pharmaceutical research industry to a Learning Disability Nurse. I started my training in 2009, knowing nothing about Learning Disability Nursing but knowing that I wanted to contribute to improving the health inequalities and poor treatment that people with learning disabilities suffer from; something I had encountered with my son. I loved my programme of study so much and whilst it really challenged me and took me out of my comfort zone, I had fantastic pastoral support from my PAT – especially after my Dad passed away from cancer in my first year of study. I attended various national learning disability conferences as a student nurse to begin my professional networking and also started a piece of research in my second year in conjunction with another Learning Disability Nursing student at another university.  After I qualified as a Learning Disability Nurse I went to work in the NHS – working in adult respite and adult in-patient settings.  I still remained involved with the University by giving talks to other postgraduate nurses on the challenges faced by parents, family carers and siblings of a child with a learning disability. In practice I loved being a mentor and sharing my knowledge with students and helping them develop. After some years of working in these clinical environments, the job as learning disability lecturer came along and I was so happy to get the opportunity to join such a great staff team and contribute to educating the next generation of Learning Disability Nurses.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m currently studying for my master’s degree so I don’t have much spare time, but I enjoy spending time with friends and family the most. At the moment I have started making mosaic pictures which I find to be a really mindful and relaxing activity.

What is your favourite quote?    

“As one door closes, another door opens” and “You never know how truly strong you really are until being strong is the only choice you have” are both quotes I grew with and live by.


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