It all ends with Haribos……

By Feb.28, 2016

IMG_1541editedThis is my first blog for the School so I thought I’d share some of the lessons I have learned in being co Project Lead in developing the new pre-registration nursing curriculum.  It’s a story that I haven’t constructed in any logical fashion, which is perhaps a reflection of my state of mind for the past 10 months; but I hope that for those of you that have developed curriculum or are thinking of doing so, my story may prove familiar or useful…either as a source of evoking fond memories or as a deathly hallow that you should seek at your peril….

So it begins: As an admissions tutor I was privileged that at many points of the year I could escape the bosom of Mary Seacole and seek new knowledge from the wider education community through college visits, Open days and such like. It’s good to get out and see what is happening in the market and this practice supported my thinking of some years, that education is forever evolving and nurse education should be no different.  But I felt that at pre-registration, nurse education  was stilted, regulatory driven with an emphasis on the traditional and sticking to “the rules” – entities I have never been that good at not questioning.  I remember embarking upon this tirade of free thinking to Tony Warne, the then Head of School, who listened and then paused in thoughtful contemplation (or at least I hope that’s what it was). I was expecting the “get your coat and P45 on your way out Joanne” moment, but instead he asked me about business, and how a curriculum might respond to various sector drivers.  Keen to give a semi- reasonable response I produced my black book, which contains what I refer to as “100 rants never written” and reeled some off.  The shelf audience of black chickens offered no heckling so I assumed that was that and Tony agreed, at least in principle.  So…I assume after following some consort with the aforementioned audience, Tony tasked me, along with my colleague Dawn Hennefer, with co-leading  the pre-registration curriculum development project (C16 as it is now referred)to be completed in less than 12 months.  At this juncture I think it important to say that I now refer to Dawn as my academic wife; Dawn is a very level headed, calm and considered person so I guess Yin and Yang were at play.

We started work on the curriculum in April 2015 struggling to juggle everything with both of us having extremely heavy workloads and key roles within the school. We sat with year planners and calculators, NMC competencies, module and programme specs, policy documents, and set about writing the curriculum.  We were helped by a variety of people in the School, and those people know who they are – THANKYOU: they offered advice, raised eyebrows as tactful “you may want to think about that” pointers, and the occasional pat on the back and words of encouragement when we needed it.  We submitted the curriculum to the Programme Approval and Review Panel (PARP) in December 2015 and subject to amendments, which we sat doing on Xmas Eve, and beyond, the curriculum was approved.  We now await the review from the NMC in April whilst frantically completing “mapping” exercises and finding new ways to interpret old “rules”.  So in the interests of saving you some time if considering this path, the lessons I have learned are:

  1. Never rant to the boss without being prepared to put your money, or your mental health, where your mouth is.
  2. Always check that rules are set rules and not custom and practice.
  3. Think Yin and Yang when working with someone else.
  4. Harness the rants and enthusiasm of others to help you get the job done.
  5. It’s better to re-plaster, sand off and paint afresh than paper over cracks… And most importantly…………….
  6. Keep a bag of Haribos in your top drawer.

Joanne Keeling
Assistant Director ­ Pre-Qualifying Nursing Directorate School of
Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences


Posted in Meet our Staff
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