This post is from Samantha Chapman, who has just started work as a Mental Health Nurse Lecturer at BCU. We are delighted to welcome her to BCU & hope that you will give her a warm welcome too!
Having spent the last 6 years working with people who experience severe and enduring mental health needs I am now into my third week as a mental health nurse lecturer at Birmingham City University. Frequently having to pull myself down from cloud nine, I shake my own shoulders and remind myself ‘this is the honeymoon period’. Soon I will be committed to my own workload and responsibilities. The transition from nursing in an Assertive Outreach Team to nurse lecturer so far has been very different but enjoyable. I loved nursing; in fact it’s the longest I have ever stayed in the same job. I loved the variety, the experience, the presentation of symptoms, patient’s strengths and advocating, caring and the ongoing learning process as I became more experienced. People I worked with predicted the world of lecturing for me before I chose the path myself. In response I would tell them I’m not ready to leave clinical practice, equally I loved presenting and sharing information to teams, staff, patients and students within my nurse role.
Now I have entered a world where the language and terms used are strange and new. Three weeks into the job I have met with Moodle, Eyelit, Talislist and Uceel, tools I am to become familiar with as they become part of my daily teaching. There is plenty to keep any lecturer busy, with moderation, invigilation, interviews, marking, quality meetings, boards of study and Rolex. There are students to visit on placement, tutorial meetings and personal students to support. There are pathways to co-ordinate, modules to run and classes to teach. In addition, lecturers will want to commit some of their time and interests in research, publication of work, design and creation of new teaching systems. For me, effective time and diary management is essential if I want to contribute fully to my role.
Considering the amount of work expected of the lecturer is it also important to allow time for ongoing involvement in clinical practice. How much time can I realistically commit? Is clinical practice the only way to stay fresh and ahead with clinical issues and skills? Is it essential and do students notice a difference to the quality of their learning experience? Having recently come from clinical practice, I am more concerned with the long term effects if clinical experience is not maintained. Is there cause for concern?
With all that I have highlighted, the University is a buzzing place to work, this week there were delicious homemade cakes, strawberries and cream and fruit punch to tempt us all and raise money for charity, the lemon slice with homemade lemon curd was particularly tasty! When the sun is shining the grounds are perfect for a sunny lunch break.
I would be interested in any comments.