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What is a typical day at work for you?

No day is typical! One day I can be teaching our pre-registration learning disability student nurses in a classroom at the Riverside Campus, the next day delivering learning disability awareness sessions to our assistant practitioners, nursing associates and social work students then the day after that supervising a MA Art Therapy student to complete their dissertation, visiting mentors and students within our clinical practice placements, interviewing people with a learning disability for a research project or attending a National Research Ethics Service committee meeting. Each day is so varied!

What is your favourite part of your job?

I think the favourite part of my job is knowing that everything we do contributes to someone's personal and professional development, whether that is a student undertaking one of our programmes, a nurse in clinical practice, a colleague or our own and ultimately this ensures the continued development of learning disability nursing as a profession and as a practice.

Do you have any exciting upcoming projects?

This year is very exciting as 2019 marks the 100th year anniversary of Learning Disability Nursing. The Learning Disability Nursing teaching team have put together an exciting schedule of events which will involve our students (past and present), our practice partners and service-users, as well as the general public in the celebrations.

This year is also an exciting time to be the programme leader for the BN (Hons) Learning Disability Nursing programme as we are currently writing the new programme to meet the new Standards for Pre-registration Nursing Programmes published by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in May, 2018.

What has been your proudest moment whilst working at the University?

It would be impossible to choose my proudest moment, there have been so many! However, there is nothing like feeling so proud when attending the graduation ceremonies. Having watched a cohort of students enter the Riverside Campus in September, excited yet nervous about the journey they are embarking on, to witness the same cohort three years later standing in the cathedral in their caps and gowns, confident and assured in their abilities to make a difference in the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families, is truly amazing. It is an honour and a privilege to have been a part of their journey and assisted them to achieve their goals.

Can you think of one of your greatest student success stories?

The pre-registration nursing programme is hard work! The programme is made up of 50% theory and 50% practice and it takes dedication, commitment, passion, motivation and a certain amount of resilience to complete both components at the same time but the rewards are huge. A learning disability nurse helps people of all ages to maintain their holistic (physical, mental, social and spiritual) health and wellbeing, working in partnership with people with learning disabilities and their families to ensure each individual is empowered to make choices, take risks, realise their aspirations and to live their lives as fully and independently as possible. Every student's journey is unique and the challenges they experience along the way are personal to them but every student who contributes to the care and support of people with a learning disability is a success story in their own right.

Can you summarise your ‘Chester story’?  

I am another person who started out at the University of Chester years ago and have never really left! I started my pre-registration nursing programme in 1992 with the Chester College of Higher Education as it was known then, graduating as a Registered Nurse (Learning Disabilities) in 1996. I returned to the University of Chester to complete my BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies and my MSc Professional Practice as a part time student whilst working in  a variety of NHS and private learning disability services. I joined the learning disability nursing teaching team in 2008 and haven't looked back since!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I don't have much spare time between juggling the demands of the job and a growing family (my eldest daughter just gave birth to my third grandchild!), however I do like to travel. I have a list of places which I would love to visit and I am slowly ticking some off. I am also a member of a photograpy society (although my imagination far outweighs my talent!) and last year I discovered the addictive hobby of rock painting.

What is your favourite quote?

"One person can make a difference and everyone should try" - John F. Kennedy (1917-1963).

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