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'The partnership between academia and clinical practice is more important than I'd realised'

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After her first year in academia, Katherine has found her professional pride and focus on providing excellent care has anything but wained

My first thoughts when considering a new professional challenge were: “Do I really want to move from clinical practice? Won’t I miss caring for patients? Won’t I feel different not being on the ‘frontline?’”.

The reality is I do feel different, but my experience has been positive.

One year ago I moved from a busy NHS teaching trust to work in a Russell group academic institution. The change for me felt very natural but it was something I entered into with great thought and consideration.

“My move into academia was driven by my want to empower others”

As a nurse on the frontline, I was passionate about delivering high quality, expert nursing care, keeping the person I was caring for at the forefront of everything I did, regardless of the pressures this put on me. My passion and professional pride I think showed in the nursing care I delivered. My move into academia was driven by my want to empower others to deliver the same high quality, expert care.

Through my first year working in an academic institution I have come to realise just how important it is to empower and support students each day to help them become well informed nurses, with patients at the heart of everything they do. This aim has channelled my professional pride and I see this same passion amongst my academic colleagues.

“Our focus to empower others to deliver excellent care never falters”

Throughout the healthcare sector, academic organisations are doing just that: helping students to develop and become better practitioners.

The world of healthcare is constantly changing but our focus to empower others to deliver excellent care never falters. Being able to work in a place where we are nurturing the future professionals and potential leaders of the health service is such a privilege and I find it incredibly helpful to have insight into the collaborative academic-clinical approach that leads global evidence. This is something that I hadn’t noticed as much when working in clinical practice. Academic institutions and clinical practice need to work collaboratively to ensure that we drive research for future practices and filter this to colleagues of all levels.

“My passion for nursing and being an expert in caring is unchanged”

In summary, my first year has been brilliant. I love the world of academia, just as I did clinical practice. My passion for nursing and being an expert in caring is unchanged, I now just look a little more closely at this and facilitate the nurses of the future to do the same.

Academia and clinical practice is an important partnership and this is something I never quite realised. Both domains, although very different, come together to ensure we keep up with the fast paced nature of healthcare and inform our practice to deliver compassionate, expert care for the future.

Katherine Midgley is a teaching associate (adult field) at University of Nottingham

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