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12.3. Educator Case Study 1

With hindsight it was probably inevitable that I would become a lecturer of some kind, coming from a family of established teachers and educators! However it took a while for this to become clear to me – 20 years to be exact.

My niche in radiography is the challenging, complex field of paediatrics, particularly musculoskeletal imaging. For several years I was content working my way through the ranks to the post of superintendent. My interest in teaching continued with student supervision, tutorials to specialist registrars in radiology and orthopaedics alongside regular outings to the University of the West of England (UWE) as a visiting lecturer.

My Postgraduate Diploma in reporting, including trauma and orthopaedics, was given a distinctly paediatric slant with the help of tutors at Sheffield Hallam University. Under the watchful eye of one of my mentors, a Consultant Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon, I undertook a role as an Advanced Practitioner within waiting list initiative clinics, reviewing patients alongside a clinician and utilising granted non-clinician imaging requesting rights. I often undertook the imaging required and contributed to patient diagnosis. At the same time, through collaboration with orthopaedic colleagues, I commenced writing for journals and later was invited to sit on the editorial board of Synergy with the aim of ensuring articles from my field of interest were accurate in content. I continued to give lectures in house and nationally, culminating in the invitation to deliver the William Stripp Memorial Lecture at UKRC in 2009.

An opportunity arose at UWE to join the Diagnostic Imaging team. Such a step after 20 years was an enormous challenge and I retained one day per week as a senior paediatric radiographer. Maintaining this involvement has demonstrated to students (and colleagues) that I am not remote from clinical practice and continue to maintain my practical skills. This appears to have increased my overall credibility, an advantage already well acknowledged in the midwifery field (Cook 2006).

Possibly this is an aspect of continuing professional development that more academic staff will be encouraged to follow. Various sources question the efficacy of lecturers as credible educators without the practical “know-how” that can only be obtained by regular clinical practice (Cook 2006, Hughes 1999, McHaffie 1994). I identify very much with the recommendations made by Cook, particularly the importance  of “making the theory live” whenever possible - calling upon real life events to demonstrate an issue provides a memorable and more effective way of emphasising crucial points

I have just reached my first anniversary as Senior Lecturer and am amazed at how much I have grown as an educator. I am nearing the end of an academic development program that will hopefully result in a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. This has assisted me in the learning and establishment of teaching strategies alongside a greater understanding of pedagogy that has enabled me to adapt my methods according to the level of learning to be achieved.

My first run as module leader for the Fundamentals of Radiographic Image Interpretation component has been a success and I am proud to have been credited with playing a key role in the metamorphosis of undergraduates to confident radiographic practitioners.

My orthopaedic consultant mentor once commented that the most important role that any professional has is as an educator - “to ensure that those who come after us are at the very least as clinically able and as knowledgeable as ourselves, if not better”.  I am now in a role that will enable me to do so to the best of my ability.

Donna  Dimond, Senior Lecturer in Diagnostic Imaging, University of the West of England

References:

Cook A. The value of clinical practice to senior lecturers in higher education. 2006   Br J Midwifery  14, ( 7):  396-400

Hughes D. Midwife teachers and clinical practice. Part 1: Separated but not divorced.   1999   Pract Midwife June  2 (6): 34-7

McHaffie HE. Hands-on experience: do teachers need it? 1994 Nurs Stand   Aug 24-30; 8 (48):29-31

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