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If I can do it…so can you!

10 Jan 2020 | Andrew Southgate Andrew Southgate presented his teaching innovation, a Reminiscence Café Simulation for international undergraduate nursing students at the 2019 Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference. Here, he shares how the experience of submitting his paper enhanced his personal and professional development.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

The first hurdle to overcome was the intense feeling of imposter syndrome and thinking the submission would be rejected because it was not intellectual or innovative enough. These feelings relate to my professional background of Nursing and Healthcare Management and historical challenges regarding the nursing profession developing into one that is underpinned by evidence and research, transitioning into higher education in the late 1990s. However, colleagues who worked with me on the Reminiscence Café Simulation encouraged me to apply.

I then saw the requirements for completing the submission form; and felt that this was a step too far and perhaps a conference such as this was not for me. Looking back this was related to thinking “I haven’t got time to do this” and was probably Imposter Syndrome rearing its head again. This was because the requirements for submission were very similar to planning a module or a seminar session.

Writing the submission

I looked at previous abstracts on the Advance HE website to see how these were structured and used these as a starting point. Putting finger to keyboard was a cathartic experience. Once I started to formulate ideas and thoughts I could see how these could develop into a submission that might, just might, be accepted. Yes, it took time, and the writing process was like that of an essay. It would not be perfect first time around and revisions would be required. I completed the submission, over a period of two weeks. Eventually, the time came where I knew that I could either constantly revise the submission, or submit it!  

Professional development

The whole process of writing the submission encouraged me to reflect on my teaching practice.

For example, there was a section detailing room layout. This bought home to me that learning spaces for seminars should be flexible and meet the needs of the learner and be appropriate for the topic - as opposed to the traditional room layout of desks in rows.

The word limit for each section enabled me to develop skills in writing succinctly and highlighted how challenging writing to a word limit could be for learners. Finally, the writing the session facilitated me to reflect on professional values such as inclusivity and cultural competence and consider how I can take this forward in a more proactive way 

Personal development

My confidence has increased because of having the submission accepted. It has helped me recognise that in spite of the challenges encountered in the sector, higher education can be an exciting place to work where innovation is supported and opportunities to share experiences should be taken. So, what is stopping you from taking up the challenge and applying for the Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference 2020?

Andrew Southgate is a Senior Lecturer (Adult Nursing) and Lead for Internationalisation (Nursing Programmes). He has taught neonatal nurses in Vietnam, undergraduate students in Belgium and delivered lectures in China, Taiwan and Japan. He has also led cultural exchanges to the U.S, Japan and Belgium.

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