Child nursing staff: Nathalie Turville

I am currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department for Children & Young People’s Health however when starting out as a nurse, I never anticipated that I would become a nurse academic.

Although I knew from the age of 4 (according to family lore) that I wanted to be a nurse, I decided not to follow the traditional ‘apprenticeship’ route in to nursing. Instead, I chose to go to university and studied for a BSc (Hons) Sociology and Social Policy with Registered General Nurse. I wanted the experience of reading for a degree, learning new ideas and being challenged academically.  At university, I attended lectures with several hundred students where we all sat frantically scribbling down the ‘wise words’ of the lecturers. A favourite lecturer was Joan Higgins, admired not only because she was a Professor but also for her style, her ability to hold the attention of the class and also because she would distribute a one page handout of key points! My lecturers taught me the power of the spoken word, the importance of expert knowledge and the role of performance in the lecture theatre.

I worked as a Children’s Nurse specialising in neonatal cardiology and then neonatal surgery. I established teaching programmes for student nurses and newly qualified staff in the clinical areas where I was working. Clinical teaching is essential to enable staff to question their practice and ensure that it is current and evidence-based so that ultimately, the child and family receive the best possible care. Even now, when I now no longer provide direct nursing care, the child and family are central to my teaching.

Moving in to the university in 2001 was a major decision, forcing me to question my identity and role in nursing. I had been comfortable teaching in clinical practice and was now faced with teaching from between 12 to 180 students, and using a range of different teaching techniques. I rapidly became familiar with large-group lectures and found I enjoyed the challenge of engaging the students. I became a performer and raconteur and have always illustrated my lectures with anecdotes and stories. I learned about problem-based learning and the skill of facilitation, struggling to hold back on providing the answers and instead, encouraging the students to question and explore knowledge to develop their understanding. I have developed workshops, role plays, case studies and simulations. I am learning about e-learning. I have come full circle – I am back to reading, learning new knowledge and being challenged to inspire and educate the nurses of the future.

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Adult Nursing staff: Lee Roberts

I am a registered adult nurse with a clinical background in cardiology and gastrointestinal nursing care. Before I joined BCU as a lecturer in Nursing, I worked as a qualified specialist community public health nurse (health visitor), my work involved the management of complex safeguarding cases, health promotion, and public health nursing. Most recently, I worked in an integrated sexual health and contraceptive service, providing support in GUM and community-based clinics.

I joined the university in January 2017, and currently teach on a variety of undergraduate pre-registration nursing modules including Adult Nursing Practice, Nursing in Society, and Clinical Skills and Decision Making. As a registered professional, I feel I have developed experience in educating a supporting student nurses and junior staff in clinical practice. I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings within my clinical career, and have been able to draw upon these experiences to provide specialist support and advice. These experiences have allowed me to develop my skills as a clinician, but have also contributed to my developing confidence as a lecturer. I have always wanted to ensure students feel able to grow and developed, challenge, and enquire whilst on placement with me. My aim was to support them in providing safe, high quality care that is evidence based. As such, I recognised the need for students to become more critical thinkers, and I believe I have a key role to play in harnessing these skills within my current role. As a mentor in clinical practice, I had the opportunity to work with student nurses on an individual bases during their 9-12 week placement. Here, we are able to develop a mentor-student relationship based on trust, and I was able to support the student in their development and success.

I appreciated the need for students to learn the “science” of nursing in practice, and as a mentor I would utilise techniques such as question and answer, discussions, simulations, and clinical practice to support students develop their knowledge. This was often an area that students would enjoy developing, and most would be excited about opportunities to gain new skills, knowledge and understanding. On reflection, I recognise the emphasis I also put into teaching the “art” of nursing; the concepts of care and compassion for example. As a mentor working within students, I recognised that they would bring these qualities with them, but I was always keen to enhance and develop these as essential nursing skills, ensuring patients become the students’ true focus during placement. Working one on one with a student allowed me to role model these behaviours and qualities. Students seemed to reflect on their own approaches as a result, and we would often use reflection as a way to further enhancing their understanding of the nursing “art”.

I am looking forward to the peer and student observation project, and feel that as a new staff member, the feedback will be beneficial in my continuous professional development. Having left the clinical setting this year to work as a new lecturer, I am currently in a period of transition. Whilst I support approximately 40 personal students on the BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing programme, and have the opportunity to aid their development on a more individualised bases, the majority of sessions delivered at the university will be for groups, ranging in size from 20 to 150 students. Such a change has meant that I am now developing my skills, experience, and confidence in teaching and managing significantly larger groups than in clinical practice. Certainly for the module I am now co-leading, the current Cohort size is over 200 students. Having introduced different teaching techniques when delivering lectures to large groups, I am looking forward to explore how these come across to students, and whether they found this beneficial for their learning.

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Primary Education staff: Mark Taylor

I was a terrible student. I think I went to only one lecture in my whole second year of my Physics degree course. But I was always curious and took modules in history of art and philosophy much to the consternation of my Physics professors. So I have some sympathy for students who want to take ownership of their own learning and be independent. I am more interested in learning than teaching.

After university I went to drama school and spent the next seven years working in theatre and theatre in education. As a result I suppose I can’t help seeing teaching as a performance-probably not a good thing overall but being an actor has given me some useful transferable skills.

I trained as a secondary science teacher but quickly moved to primary teaching. I realised I was more interested in teaching children than teaching science- the more holistic relationship with the learners in primary appealed more. Nonetheless I was a pretty rubbish teacher and it took me a long time to develop my skills, I was lucky in every school I worked in to have superb colleagues who showed me what good teaching looked like. I think it was my own difficult journey to becoming a teacher that made me so interested in teacher training.

Rather surprisingly to me I realised I was actually getting pretty good at teaching but shortly afterwards I also realised I was stagnating and needed new challenge. I had started teaching on a school based teacher training course for one day a week and this led me to move from primary teacher to become a university lecturer in primary science education. Once again excellent colleagues supported the transition. Alan Mortiboys was inspirational in showing the role or emotional intelligence in teaching, Paul Adams taught me the courage to genuinely adopt constructivist approaches and let learners find their own way. Being paid to really reflect and think deeply about the process of learning and the nature of teaching as part of my job was very satisfying.  I went on to become a course director for a small primary school based route delivering M-level PGCE. This was quite an intense experience and the small cohorts meant individual success was as much down to building relationships and supporting people as delivering content. It is only recently that I have come back to university and started once again teaching large undergraduate programmes.

This year my daughter has started a degree at Manchester university – seeing the world of university through her eyes has made me far more sensitive to the experiences of our first year undergraduates.

I remain fascinated by what learning means for the individual and how knowledge is constructed and mediated.

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Early Childhood Studies staff: Paola Pedrelli

I have worked as a volunteer, paid member of staff, lead service provision and lectured in Early Years, Children and Family Services for the last 30 years both internationally and within the United Kingdom. I am very interested in lifelong learning and the importance of empowerment. I strongly believe that a holistic approach needs to be taken and no aspect of our lives can be segmented. Therefore my personal and professional identity influences, the way I interact and work with students and colleagues. The same is true for the students, they bring their personal and previous educational experiences to university. The interest in being part of this research is how can  we engage with the students so that it is a mutually beneficial relationship and at the same time, it helps me reflect on my practice and continue to be a reflective professional and improve my practice.

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Early Childhood Studies staff: Zoe Lewis

Zoe Lewis Profile Photo

As a mature undergraduate student, my own experiences of teaching and learning were very different to those of my fellow students. As a result, I understand the need to balance home commitments with the demands of further study and the role that confidence and self-belief play in our ability to learn, but I also feel that I had the opportunity to really engage in the course and immerse myself in my subject in ways that I might not have done as an eighteen-year-old. I have found a love of learning that has underpinned my career as an early years teacher and led me to continue with my own postgraduate study. This love of learning is something that I hope to develop in my own students and in each session that I teach, I aim to nurture independence, resilience and a sense of professionalism that is so important in early years work.  I think that personal reflection is the most important method of professional learning and when there is an opportunity to share this reflection with a team of colleagues there is real potential to bring about positive change in the lives of students, young children and their families.

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Child Nursing staff: Ilana Pressick

Ilana Pressick Profile PhotoAs a Teaching Fellow within the Department for Children and Young People’s Health, I am passionate about the student learning experience.  I feel privileged to have joined this amazing team at Birmingham City University in 2016.  Working at BCU feels like ‘coming home’ due to the fact that I graduated here in 2009.   Having worked in different intensive care settings over the years has resulted in me being a competent nurse, able to plan and prioritise care and demonstrate advanced clinical skills.  Since qualifying I have never stopped learning.  I have done numerous post graduate courses ranging from the SLAIP course, to the Neonatal Intensive Course and most recently the Post-Graduate Certification in Higher Education.

Historically as a student I was that student, the one whom fell asleep in the back of the classroom.  I would attend a session or two and if I found the lecturer indifferent, reading from the PowerPoint and not inspiring me I would resort to auto-didacticism.  The traditional model of teaching whereby the teacher deposits knowledge into the minds of students was not a model I ever aspired to.  My inspiration is a result of those lecturers who spoke to me and not at me, the ones who adopted a student-centred approach.  Their sessions did not solely rely on PowerPoint but they took an alternative approach, challenging me and engaging me, coaching me through my higher education.

I believe in a teaching approach that turns students into active participants rather than passive listeners.  I favour certain pedagogical philosophies but I think as educators we switch between philosophies in order to deliver the required educational session depending on the student dynamics and needs.  I strive to ensure that students feel in control of their learning and confident within my classroom.  I seize every opportunity to add variety to teaching and learning methods and I am not affair to try new things.  After all life is about taking chances, trying new things, having fun, making mistakes and learning from them.  It is a privilege to be with students as they begin their journey to join our challenging, exciting and varied nursing profession.

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Radiography staff: Mark Holland

Mark Holland Profile PhotoMark Holland. MEd PgDip (Radiotherapy) Diploma of the College of Radiographers (Therapeutic Radiography) FHEA

Mark Holland is a Senior Lecturer and Radiotherapy Clinical Placement Co-ordinator within the Department of Radiography at Birmingham City University, in addition to being the personal tutor to students placed within the Radiotherapy Department at Gloucester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Mark has worked in radiography education for eighteen years, teaching primarily on the undergraduate programmes in radiography and other health professions, as well as delivering radiography focussed content on some FE science programmes.

Mark specialises in workshop based theoretical delivery, utilising the University’s dedicated clinical skills rooms including the Virtual Environment for Radiotherapy Training (VERT), and the radiotherapy planning suite. Mark’s focus is very much on creating a seamless fusion between the academic and clinical content inherent within the radiotherapy programme, encouraging students to draw upon their own clinical placement experiences to underpin and embellish their academic work.

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Radiography staff: Nick White

Nick White profile photoNick White.  MSc BSc (Hons) BA SFHEA

Nick White is a Senior Lecturer within the Department of Radiography at Birmingham City University and also a clinical tutor within the Radiotherapy Department at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.  Nick has worked in radiography education for 17 years, teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate courses in radiography and the health professions.  He is an experienced lecturer in advanced practice and leadership and is module leader for post-registration radiographers studying leadership within programmes which support development as advanced and consultant practitioners.  He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, this award being received in recognition of his innovative approach to healthcare education, including use of skills simulation and involvement of students as academic partners. Nick is also an experienced course assessor for the College of Radiographers. Nick’s current research includes the development and delivery of approaches to the teaching of palliative and end of life care within healthcare programmes, and how this is implemented within clinical practice.

Nick’s teaching and learning expertise and interests align with his aim to prepare healthcare students with an aim to make them ‘practice competent and practice ready’. In particular Nick’s teaching aims to better align core academic knowledge and understanding with the real world of radiotherapy practice- this is done by using real world examples of patient care and treatment delivery, whilst deploying active learning through activities that include practical workshops and virtual simulation technologies.

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Primary Education staff: Leanne Gould

Leanne Gould

Senior Lecturer

Programme Leader Teach First East Midlands.

Developing my professional knowledge as a teacher impacted greatly on my understanding and approach to being a learner. As an early career teacher I often found myself developing learning behaviours in my students that I found difficult to apply myself when I approached my own professional learning. Studying the subject of education and promoting resilience in my young students encouraged me to reflect on my own resilience as a learner and to view my own professional development through a critical yet positive lens. I would describe myself as an ‘opportunist’ when it comes to learning, and I approach any learning opportunity that I arises with the belief that if I am accurately reflective and open to support I can use any opportunity to develop my professional capacity and make a learning experience relevant to my context.

The prospect of being able to continue my own professional development through educational research was an influencing factor in me applying for a full time post at BCU. The opportunity to explore different research methodologies, to acquire new skills in developing educational research and to extend my professional knowledge within my field of work whilst continuing to have an impact on the education of young learners in our local schools through teacher education was an opportunity that excited me. It was challenging applying my own values to my new identity as a senior lecturer, and being faced with the question about my own ‘academic identity’ I experienced an identity crisis. Through social construction with colleagues I had to reflect on what the term ‘academic identity’ meant to me which allowed me to re-align my learning values to my new role. Being an opportunist learner I have progressively developed my career from a teacher, to a teacher educator, a partnership lead and now a programme leader and I am participating in collaborative observation research as a motivation to support me to continue to explore and develop my professional capacity.

My strength as a learner is the ability to position myself so that any learning opportunity I undertake is applied creatively and relevantly to my professional context. My capacity to learn is enhanced through a social constructivist approach to learning which can help me to recognise and consider colleagues and other professionals’ views before reflectively positioning myself to synthesise my own learning experience.

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