Passionate about student experience
Before starting work at the University of Derby in 2006, I worked as a Diagnostic Radiographer in the NHS for 10 years. During my time in clinical practice, I always enjoyed working with students, and over the years, I took on roles that led me further and further down the teaching route. So, when I started teaching full time at the University it felt like I had found my perfect role. I loved the excitement of the start of term, and seeing all the new students arrive on campus, and at graduation, awards ceremonies, and assessment boards, I always felt incredibly proud of my student’s achievements. This passion only grew over the years, as I thought more and more about student experience, and how to improve it. I was particularly interested in the transition to clinical placement, which can be challenging for some students. Research I carried out confirmed some of these challenges, and so I started working on ways to improve this transition. This included increasing simulation activities in the clinical skills suite, providing additional advice and support, looking at rota patterns and much more.
Bridging the gap between theory and practice
The decision to increase simulation activities was a huge success and has had a massive impact on students’ transition to clinical placement. These sessions simulate the clinical environments that our students will be working on in clinical practice. Our radiography students practice undertaking X-rays in our digital X-ray room, using our mobile X-ray machine in our ward areas, and working with an Image Intensifier in our theatre setting. We also simulate carrying out CT and MRI scans using special software, and our sonography students practice ultrasound scans linked to mannequin ‘patients’. Realism added by the inclusion of service users or actors in the simulations, the use of props such as moulage (special makeup used to simulate wounds, burns etc), smells and simulated body fluids.
Simulation sessions evaluate very highly, and student feedback is overwhelmingly positive about not just the skills it helps them to develop, but the confidence it helps them to build too. Radiographers working with our students on clinical placements have also fed back the noticeable change they have seen in student’s technical skills and confidence levels.
All of this helps to prepare our students for their clinical placements in NHS hospitals, and ultimately to provide the best possible care to our patients.
Contributing to the profession’s research base
The focus on preparing students for clinical practice and delivering high quality care led me to consider how we measure what good patient care looks like in Diagnostic Radiography. There are many studies measuring patient care in nursing and medicine, but until recently, there have been few pieces of research measuring it in diagnostic radiography.
This interest led me to undertake several research projects and collaborations with colleagues that share a passion for patient care. This work has all directly fed back into my own teaching practice, and the teaching and research philosophy of my team. The strong emphasis on patient care is evident in the curriculum of the diagnostic imaging programmes and underpinned by journal articles and book chapters written by me and other members of the team. True research informed teaching!
The NTF Award
The NTF award drew together all my passions as a radiography educator – student experience, patient centred care, and supporting my team to develop their own research skills and interests. I feel honoured to have received this prestigious award. Since being awarded my NTF in 2020, I have also been internally promoted to Associate Professor and have no doubt that my NTF award contributed significantly to my promotion. I have enjoyed getting involved with the NTF community through the NTF newsletters and networking events, and hope that it will lead to opportunities for collaboration in the future.
NET Conference 2022 - the leading, international conference for networking in healthcare education
The call for papers for the 32nd NET Conference 2022 is now open. Deadline for submission is midnight (GMT) on Friday 25 February 2022. Colleagues are invited to submit an abstract on the following themes:
• Educational enhancement;
• Learning, teaching and assessment strategies;
• Key challenges in healthcare education; or
• Student experience, engagement and achievement.
Whether an experienced conference presenter or taking that first step towards speaking in front of an audience, we would like to hear about your research projects and new initiatives in healthcare education. Abstract submissions can be for any of the following types of presentation: theme papers, poster+ presentations, poster presentations or symposia. Find out more