I was accepted at Oxford Brookes as a very mature student, age 49, on completion of a Science Access Course. The way that mature students were integrated with students of all ages was motivational and Oxford Brookes offered a high level of education and prospects of opportunity and employment. These interactions with other students, plus the privilege of study were arguably the best parts of my student experience.
The education I received at Oxford Brookes encouraged my critical thinking, my research and also prompted me to question accepted practice. I would advise prospective and current students to do the same and have an enquiring attitude, but also to support practice with scientific evidence, never just hypothesis or established dogma. This qualification provided me with opportunities at many levels, and allowed me to gain management positions within a short space of time.
Throughout my three years at Brookes my youngest son was seriously ill, this meant that I could not take on dissertation work towards gaining honours. The University and my lecturers gave me the extra advice and support which allowed me to accomplish my final independent study, and complete my course with a BSc in Adult Nursing.
My final year as a student nurse was spent at Witney Hospital, after which I moved to Cheltenham Nuffield Hospital where I worked as a pre- and post- surgical Staff Nurse for six months, then a similar position at St Lukes Hospital in Headington, where I was then promoted to Junior Sister. Following this my next position was as Intermediate Care Lead Nurse at Albany Nursing Home in Headington, and finally I became Clinical Lead at Middletown Grange Nursing Home in Hailey near Witney.
In 2007 I was motivated to undertake an independent professional research study into Eating Disorders by the death of our son Carl, aged 26. My work, founded on medical and clinical evidence, culminated in a report in 2009, which has been endorsed by medical doctors in the UK and USA. In an effort to bring about a fundamental change in the unacceptably high mortality rate of young people by Eating Disorders I presented my report to NICE and various other agencies and Government. I also met with, and presented my report to, representatives of the Care Quality Commission in 2010.
Alongside this I have been working since 2008 with schools in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, holding lectures on the subject of preventing Eating Disorders through education. In 2009 I held a training seminar on the same subject for nurses and health visitors in affiliation with Talking Life Agency, which was commissioned by the Somerset Primary Care Trust. I also held another training seminar later, in May 2012, this time for the Foster Carers of Archway Care, and amidst all the lectures and seminars I set up SPERO-HOPE, a community Interest company. This is a nurse led, non- profit Eating Disorder support service, and as part of SPERO-HOPE CIC I am now in the process of setting up a medically supported Outreach service, bringing nutrition support and medical monitoring at home for individuals affected by Eating disorders.
I have recently moved away from Oxfordshire to Scotland, where I am continuing my work as lead nurse and Medical Director of SPERO-HOPE CIC, Eating disorder support service. Part of my work involves training healthcare professionals with the aim of bringing about long needed change, and ultimately saving young lives. I am available and willing to give lectures on Eating Disorder illness and recovery, to share the knowledge that I have acquired through more than ten years experience, and six years research study.