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From classroom to frontline

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Professor David Sines’ career in education has seen him benefit from, and impact on, student nurses

Buckinghamshire New University has become a monument in nursing education since Professor David Sines began his time there but, in reflecting on his career, he says he feels the impact his students have had on him has been far greater.

When Professor Sines thinks about his fondest memories as an educator, one particular student, Joy, comes to mind. After completing her undergraduate nursing courses under Professor Sines’ mentorship, she went on to secure an internship with the International Council of Nurses in Geneva, working alongside the chief executive.

“Joy’s enterprising spirit and entrepreneurial exploits will undoubtedly place her in an excellent position to become a national leader in nursing,” says Professor Sines.

In nursing education, his students played a large role in his experience. He says he enjoyed having an informed dialogue and critical debate with them and that new student nurses “need to develop a real passion for nursing and for the people they work with”.

Professor Sines developed that same passion for the people with whom he worked over the years.

“Without a doubt, I’ve been able to work with such excellent colleagues within the university,” he says.

These colleagues would be sure to say the same about him. Throughout his time at Buckinghamshire New,

it has doubled its academic workforce, increased income by 40% and developed a strong research infrastructure.

“I think it’s fair to say we have moved to the top of the London academic nursing league table with regard to the quality of our education portfolio,” he says.

The developments in nursing education at Buckinghamshire during Sines’ time as a faculty member are inspiring. Academically, the programme has added international contracts and academic disciplines to its portfolio as well as introducing two research institutes - one for mental health nursing and one for nursing research - in partnership with NHS trusts.

Professor Sines believes his greatest impact was helping Buckinghamshire New become top of the league in terms of education quality, but acknowledges again that he has also been impacted by those around him.

He says he enjoyed maintaining superb engagement with NHS colleagues and was able to extend his own knowledge to students while understanding contemporary challenges from the perspective of those at the front line of nursing.

“I’ve witnessed a great improvement in nurses’ technology, skill, competencies and ability to work as advanced practitioners,” he says.

Professor Sines says nursing education will continue to develop in the coming years.

“There will be a much greater emphasis on care closer to home, more flexible learning that takes place in the workplace and greater emphasis on evidence-based practice,” he predicts.

Although, set to retire in March, Professor Sines will continue his nursing expertise as a non-executive director of Buckinghamshire Hospitals Trust and Central London Community Healthcare Trust. However he will be succeeded at Buckinghamshire New University by Dr Alison Chambers. Currently the dean at the University of Central Lancashire, she will take on the role of pro vice-chancellor and executive dean of Buckinghamshire New University’s Faculty of Society and Health, where Professor Sines will work with her for up to six months to advise her in the role. He says he is pleased to have Dr Chambers succeed him. What he will always remember as he hands his role over to her is the personal side of his career.

“Some of my greatest memories relate to the successes students and professional colleagues have evidenced during the four decades that span my career in nursing and higher education,” he says.

“There is nothing more satisfying than presenting students to my chancellor at their graduation and joining with them and their families to celebrate their start into their chosen careers.”

Sara Barba

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