Having qualified as a registered nurse in the 80's I worked in a variety of positions within an acute setting from theatres to intensive care unit. Moving out into the community I qualified as a district nurse working as a sister in a number of teams including the twilight and night service. Following my degree as a specialist community public health practitioner (health visiting) I worked as a health visitor for families with an infant or young person with disabilities. Working from a client focused; specialist healthcare practitioner background I developed strong advocacy skills and a desire to empower and enable individuals. As well as developing specialist skills in special and additional needs I also promoted children’s/young people’s continence working with NICE on a number of their publications relating to children's continence. I relished the challenge evoked by working in an evolving field of increasing patient and public participation within the NHS and of supporting learners within healthcare. I remain committed to the concept of continual professional development and seek to empower both colleagues and clients in the area of personal and professional development.
I joined The Open University in 2001 as an Associate Lecturer, tutoring on modules involving families, children and young people. On leaving from the NHS I joined the OU as a staff tutor in the school of health, wellbeing and social care working within the fields of nursing together with health and social care.
Finally I feel deeply honoured to walk alongside students of all grades in their learning journey within the various field of higher education, guiding and supporting them as they embrace the experience of learning in a variety of settings.
My research interests have always focused on disability and learning difficulties as well as health promotion. My first degree was with The Open University which I undertook after qualifying as a state registered nurse. My Open Degree included modules in health and technology. My dissertation for my second degree considered the siblings when brothers and/or sister had either a disability or a learning difficulty and I extended this research into my Master's degree in the Social Anthropology of Children and Child Development. During this time I came to understand the far reaching place of education and how children and young people may learn differently. I used nature to demonstrate healthcare to children, for example the importance of drinking and a healthy diet through planting and nature based activities. I have continued to develop this interest and passion in considering the importance of greencare and nature to wellbeing and resilience and am currently looking into this area further.
Adversity can have a profound impact on studies and that is unique to each student. What one student may be able to overcome and cope with may be very diffderent from another student facing the same challenges. Adversity, trauma, stress and so on will vary between individuals and resilience is not a ‘one time feature’ which is either there or not. Whilst limited resilience may always be helpful it should be remembered that overall it is a skill which can be developed over time and is something whichhas many different levels. For example other people can contribute to resilience through support and friendship ; it may be linked to activities or past-times, be encouraged by friends, family and colleagues raising confidence and self belief. Resilience can be developed, grown and encouraged in so many ways such as enjoying nature based activities, being kind to yourself or managing your health. Nature based activities and health are a particular focus for my research.
Supporting all student to learn and enjoy study is something I am particularly keen to further develop. Learning is something we do every day and teaching is about encouraging, supporting and joining students in their learning journeys.