Jo Counsell

My name is Jo Counsell and I have been a mature student at UCLAN for the last 2 and half years!  I have been a nurse for almost 29 years and have worked within the field of safeguarding for the last 10 years.  I have studied at UCLAN many times over those 29 years and my last previous period of study was in 2004 when I completed my BSc Specialist Community Public Health Nurse – Health Visiting.  Dawn Eccleston (senior lecturer) was my personal tutor at that time and we continued to keep a professional relationship through my subsequent career as a Health Visitor and then as a safeguarding nurse.  Dawn kept me informed regarding the development of the new MSc Safeguarding course so obviously once able I enrolled on the course.  Dawn became my personal tutor once again.

I had great expectations of the course and couldn’t wait to start.  The range of modules covering the wide arena of safeguarding were very appealing as was gaining further knowledge on the safeguarding adult agenda – one which I didn’t have much experience in at the time.  Predominantly I have worked in safeguarding children arena, but we had recently expanded the team to cover an all age safeguarding agenda.  It interested me that the modules all covered an international context, thus widening my knowledge of what safeguarding means to other countries.

My expectations were met and exceeded at times.  One of my main worries was the online element of the course as I worried it would be too isolating.  As the course progressed so did the teaching methods utilising IT.  The first modules were very much elearning in its truest sense, but subsequent modules adopted online classrooms using Adobe Connect, Study Buddy group chats, recorded seminars and teaching presentations, and use of Skype.  I was able to network with other like-minded students from different fields of healthcare, different areas of the country and different professions.  The wide range of topics on offer was excellent and it was difficult to choose only six!  The most enjoyable part of the course was the start of every module, feeling like a sponge taking in all the information and processing it, and subsequently applying it into my working practice.

Support from all of the tutors and my personal tutor was of a high level too.  They always made sure students knew how and when they were able to contact them and access support.  Dawn offered structured and sensible support when I needed it and especially when things were getting overwhelming.  I completed this MSc whilst working full-time and looking after my family.

The course was right for me as the modules on offer were completely relevant for my day job.  I have been able to build on existing knowledge and acquire new knowledge.  I have implemented new working practices from the knowledge acquired from certain modules. 

Completing this course has given me the appetite to possibly look forward to some future studying and complete a PhD or Professional Doctorate, but only after a long rest!