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How did you become a... Clinical Educator and Practice Development Co-ordinator?

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Interested in nurse education? Read on to see if this role is for you


Name - Karen Corder

Current post - Clinical Educator and Practice Development Co-ordinator / Lecturer Practitioner


Why did you became a clinical educator and practice development co-ordinator/lecturer practitioner?

I have always had a keen interest in education – whether that is educating patients about their disease or medication, or helping carers understand the best way to support their loved ones, or sharing good practice and supporting students in their learning. I worked as a respiratory nurse specialist for the preceding four years of my career and I took every opportunity to share knowledge and best practice. 

There is a saying… “knowledge is power” – sharing knowledge is certainly powerful for the learner and the teacher. I discovered early on in my career that increasing someone’s knowledge around any given topic empowered them and gave me a huge sense of satisfaction. 


What qualifications do you need?

I have just recently completed an MSc which was desirable for the role. I gained a first class honours degree in adult branch nursing in September 2007. I then undertook an MSc in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in October 2010 and completed 6 modules at Level 7 before going on to complete a research project for the full MSc. 

Unusually my MSc was linked to mental health yet this was not my background. However, I was always interested in the psychological impact of physical disease and therefore chose to learn more in that field. Some of my colleagues at the university consider me something of an enigma because of my dual knowledge. I am currently undertaking an “Education in Professional Practice” qualification at Northumbria University which was also a pre-requisite for the role. 

I guess you have to like academia to do this role! I love to gain new knowledge and skills from a variety of sources and this role certainly delivers that.


What do you like about your role?

My role is multi-faceted and I love the diversity it offers. I like a challenge and this role delivers it on a day to day basis – clinically and academically. As highlighted earlier, I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others, and sharing clinical knowledge and teaching clinical skills to staff allows them to grow personally and professionally which gives me a great sense of achievement.

I like developing projects and seeing the benefits for all when the end results are delivered which the “practice development co-ordinator” side of my role fulfils. The “lecturer practitioner” element of my role enables me to help professional staff to see the theory practice link and develop their education, knowledge, qualifications and ultimately care delivery for their patients.

Being a link between practice and education is for me a very privileged position to be in.


What are the challenges to this role?

You MUST be very organised to do a dual role in any setting. I have an electronic diary at the trust and at the university and I have them synced to my tablet device. I also have a paper diary too – just in case! 

Time is very much a challenge too – people do not always remember or indeed know that you are 50% in one organisation and 50% in another, therefore their demands on your time can be difficult to manage. However, I learned very early on in the role to be protective about your time and be honest with people about your workload.


What advice would you offer nurses who want to follow in your footsteps?

Go for it! 

If, like me, you are organised and enjoy a challenge and role diversity then this is the job for you. If you’re not really sure of your capabilities then I suggest you start volunteering in your team to be the person who gets involved in a variety of educational situations – that way you get to dip you toes in the water so to speak.

If you’re uncomfortable sharing knowledge and skills and talking to audiences from 1 to 200 then don’t even consider it – it’s not the job for you. 

Don’t expect it to be easy just because it is something that you enjoy that perhaps comes naturally. I can honestly say that you do not have to be an academic boffin to do the role; you need a balance of personable qualities, thirst for education and the desire to undertake further study.



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