A senior nurse who has been awarded a professorship and promoted to a top job at a university’s medical school hopes her achievements will help to eliminate stereotypes about the nursing profession.
From next month, Ann Taylor, who is a registered nurse and expert in the field of pain management, will oversee postgraduate courses at the University of Cardiff’s school of medicine.
“When I started out as a lecturer a medical colleague of mine saying ‘You’re really quite bright – maybe you should think about being a doctor”
With about 1,400 postgraduate students, the school and its centre for medical education is the largest provider of postgraduate studies in healthcare in the UK.
In addition, Ms Taylor - who has led national work on pain management in England and Wales and is an advisor to the Welsh government - was recently awarded a sought-after professorship. From August she will be a personal chair at the medical school, a title given to recognise academic achievement.
She said she was “absolutely delighted” and hoped the accolade and her new job – as director of postgraduate taught programmes - would encourage more nurses to aim for leading roles in medical education and more widely in healthcare academia.
“Within schools of medicine you tend to find that it is the doctors and scientists that get to that professorial level. I think it is quite unusual for a nurse to be recognised as professor of medical education,” she told Nursing Times.
“So I think this is another way of celebrating nursing - that says you don’t have to be a doctor within our school of medicine to be awarded a professor’s post.
”This is another way of celebrating nursing - that says you don’t have to be a doctor…to be awarded a professor’s post”
“I think it is good for role-modelling and for mentorship of - not only women coming up through the school of medicine - but also women who maybe are not doctors,” she said.
She also hoped her success would contribute to breaking down stereotypes about the skills and abilities of nurses compared to doctors and other colleagues.
ann taylor university of cardiff
“I remember when I started out as a lecturer a medical colleague of mine saying ‘You’re really quite bright – maybe you should think about being a doctor’,” she said.
She said that since the introduction of non-medical prescribing and nurse consultant roles, healthcare training was moving away from “traditional views that the doctor knows best so the doctor should head up the team”.
While some of the postgraduate training on offer at the University of Cardiff is specifically for doctors, many courses are inter-professional attracting doctors, nurses and some allied health professionals.
Ms Taylor highlighted the importance of multi-disciplinary training in cross-cutting areas – such as managing care for older adults, diabetes and pain management – and its role in breaking down barriers between professions.
“The NHS is hugely scrapped for cash so sponsoring people to return [to education] for courses is the icing on the cake these days”
In her new role she said she was keen to work closely with healthcare providers and commissioners to look at the type of advanced skills that were actually needed in the NHS.
“One thing that is important and that I am going to bring into my new role is actually being far more market-driven about the courses we provide,” she said.
“That means actually going out, networking and communicating with people working on the ground or in senior management to find out what is needed as opposed to us providing courses that we’re interested in,” she said.
She acknowledged one of the biggest barriers to postgraduate training for nurses and others was funding.
“The NHS is hugely scrapped for cash so sponsoring people to return [to education] for courses is the icing on the cake these days,” she said.
“The NHS hasn’t got the funding so a lot of the people who want to do courses have to self-fund – and courses are expensive – and there is also the releasing of time away from the workplace,” she added.
She said there was a need to explore new ways of delivering general training programmes – as well as advanced, formal qualifications in the future.