Nursing academic graduates alongside own students

Kerry Clark received her master’s as her nursing associates took to the stage too

A determined University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) academic will graduate alongside her students after she decided to go back into the classroom to help her land her dream job.

Kerry Clark combined working full-time lecturing UCLan’s Trainee Nursing Associate students (TNAs) while studying for her MSc in Nursing.

The master’s level qualification allowed her to get a promotion to become a senior lecturer teaching qualified health care professionals non-medical prescribing and the icing on the cake was graduating on the same day as the students she taught for two years.

The 52-year-old, from Kendal, said: “I am over the moon, it has been a struggle juggling working full-time, home life and studying, then throw in the Covid-19 restrictions, so it feels like a well-deserved achievement.

“I was working as the TNAs’ lecturer so we were studying at the same time, and we could share the same experiences as students and combining our studying with work. Seeing them graduate on the same day made me so proud and I couldn’t help but cry with happiness. They are already out there working as nursing associates, making a difference in the health service while some are continuing their own academic journeys and going to do further study to become registered nurses. That makes me so proud and the reason I love my job.”

Kerry has spent decades of her nursing career in Preston. She undertook her nurse training in the city in the later 1980s to early 1990s and later started working in theatres for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.

It was in her next role as a specialist diabetes nurse in Preston that the seed was planted to look at becoming a lecturer.

“A student I was working with told me I would be a good lecturer as I could explain diabetes clearly,” said Kerry. “So, I talked to someone at UCLan’s School of Nursing and they said come as a lecturer, share your years of expertise, and teach the new generation of nurses.”

Kerry began working as a lecturer in 2017 after previously studying for a nursing diploma in 2010 and then a degree in 2015, both at UCLan.

She said: “I have always felt supported and encouraged and by gaining my MSc meant I could apply for a promotion, which I successfully did.

“I love my job. I am chuffed I have got my master’s and I have the opportunity to continue studying but I’m so proud of my nursing associates. In my job I always think ‘would I trust this person to give me personal care?’ and I know I would be happy for those nursing associates and registered nurses who I have supported to take care of me.”

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