Practice Educator in the South West Acute Hospital and Omagh Hospital & Primary Care Complex, Kellie’s work, home and study life was turned upside down with the arrival of COVID-19.
As a key worker, Kellie continued with her clinical duties and her MSc throughout the pandemic. In her role as Practice Educator, Kellie was responsible for ensuring the final year students working in WHSCT could finish their placements during the pandemic and helped them join the temporary register early to support the fight against COVID-19.
“The MSc initially went 'on hold' as I adapted, like my other colleagues, to wearing full PPE daily which was exhausting. That coupled with the daily worry that we could be carrying the dreaded virus home to our families caused increased levels of stress. When it transpired that we were not likely to be rid of the pandemic in the near future, and things had become more of a new normal, I decided to embark on the MSc again in a bid to finish it.”
Juggling work, study and home life was challenging for Kellie and her family. Her husband is also a key worker so they had to balance their work schedules and Kellie’s study schedule with childcare very carefully.
“Whilst it sounds cliché, I was very lucky that I had the unconditional support of family, friends and work colleagues. It was vital in maintaining motivation and ensuring that I applied any extra time available to finishing this MSc.”
Kellie’s MSc was funded by the Department of Health and focused on how newly qualified staff transitioned into their inaugural post within any Trust and if they are supported in their training to ensure optimum quality care is achieved for patients as they attend the Radiology department.
Kellie completed her BSc in Radiography with Ulster and was delighted to return for her postgraduate study,
“Ulster University has been pivotal in guiding me through the various advances I have made in my career and given me the educational foundations to perform my role. Fulfilling my MSc is not something I had set out to perform after completion of my PGd, however having thrown myself in, with that little nudge, I've found that challenges are a way of exploring and achieving new goals, they don't often come easy but the satisfaction from success is enriching. It’s a good test of self to step out of your comfort zone and unlock new doors and opportunities.”