WUTH supported by WBIS helps health professionals grow into their ideal role.

Posted on 10th April 2015

Julie Westlake has never been so happy in her job.  Graduating with a BSc (Hons) on the University of Chester’s innovative Work Based and Integrative Studies programme (WBIS) qualified her for secondment as a Practice Education Facilitator (PEF), providing quality assurance in CPD for nurses at Wirral University Trust Hospital (WUTH).


It is demanding work:


‘As PEFs, we manage the learning environment and offer support to mentors, educators and practice placement environments to ensure valid and reliable assessment of students.  We also work collaboratively with five Universities across the region to support students who may be underachieving.’


Although naturally open and friendly, Julie admits her ‘bubbly’ appearance was once a smokescreen for ‘being painfully shy’.   She avoided public speaking and was reticent expressing her opinion - hardly ideal PEF material.  Understanding how she has transformed her profile lies in Julie’s learning history.


Joining WBIS in September 2011, Julie was a Senior Theatre Recovery Nurse at Clatterbridge Hospital.  She felt secure in her relatively small team but professionally stalled without a degree.  WBIS offered the solution, but the prospect of completing a self-directed course of level 6 study was daunting.  ‘Sitting down for the Self Review workshop, I felt completely out of my depth.   It was terrifying.’  Julie’s feelings of insecurity didn’t last very long.  A comprehensive personal audit revealed great reserves of unrecognised learning and the chance to customise her studies through a negotiated work-based learning programme was both liberating and intellectually challenging.


Julie produced excellent assignments.  ‘I gained the ability to reflect effectively on my own practice and developed a love of psychology which is vital in my new role’.   Administering MBTI and Belbin tests among her ‘post-op’ colleagues was one inspired idea.  Group discussions revitalised team cohesion and underpinned an excellent critical report for Julie’s Exit Review module.  Graduating ‘first class’, Julie was presented with the CWRS/Barclay’s award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in 2014.


WUTH are now supporting Julie in her Master’s study in Clinical Supervision.   Her unchanged vivaciousness is no longer a front, but rather an expression of deep confidence, founded on well-earned academic and professional recognition.