It’s been a whirlwind here at St Christopher’s CARE since HRH Princess Alexandra officially opened the building last September.
But what the last nine months has emphasised for me more than anything else, is my huge passion for education and learning and the enormous opportunity we have to shape and secure the future of palliative and end of life care for generations to come.
We’ve already hosted numerous conferences, developed a compelling and accessible online learning offer from scratch (admittedly this was out of necessity during the pandemic) and created thriving communities of practice to cater for the specific needs, both educational and career development, for a whole range of specific roles.
The appetite for learning and in particular good quality, practical education has been clear from the outset and that really reflects what I’ve experienced throughout my whole career.
I quickly began to realise that just as there is an art and science to nursing, there is also and art and science to teaching.
In the early part of my career, before I arrived in the UK, I worked in Europe and the Caribbean, as a nurse in mental health, prisons, nursing homes and A&E, and witnessed the impact of no education or poor education, just as I also saw the power of quality learning.
It wasn’t until I started work at Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice in 2008 that I had my first opportunity to address the issue. I quickly began to realise that just as there is an art and science to nursing, there is also and art and science to teaching.
A major part of my role there was to support staff in nursing and residential homes. My first instinct was to run with a set theory-based, palliative care teaching programme. In no time I could see this wasn’t the right approach for this group. I needed to listen to them, understand their life experiences, tease out their understanding and ambitions for end of life care in their setting. It wasn’t about the quality of my PowerPoint presentation! Unless I shaped my teaching to their context, it was not going to be effective and certainly would have no impact on the care they were delivering.
It’s that lesson that has shaped my thinking ever since and which continues to influence what we’re endeavouring to do here at St Christopher’s CARE – best captured in our pedagogical framework and our four Cs of teaching: Collaborative, Current, Challenging and Context Specific.
The one course that’s closest to my heart and which I think offers the greatest potential for positive change, is Teach with CARE.
If we’re really serious about extending quality end of life care to all, we have to be deadly serious about providing the workforce with quality education. I’ve seen too much poor teaching that makes people bored and has no impact whatsoever.
As proud as I am of all the courses, conferences and communities of practice we’re delivering, the one course that’s closest to my heart and which I think offers the greatest potential for positive change, is Teach with CARE. This four-day course is designed to empower and motivate people who teach and train to engage their learners in the most effective way possible. The pilot course we ran for St Christopher’s staff and associates has already been transformative, helping people re-think their whole approach to teaching, seeing things from the learner’s perspective and ensuring that the information they’re communicating is what’s required for the learner’s day to day practice.
For any health or social care professional looking to enhance their teaching and who’s committed to securing a healthy future for palliative and end of life care, find out more about and register for Teach with CARE here and discover the breadth of our full education offer here at St Christopher’s CARE.