Celebrating Learning and an Inspiring Community of Practice

On the 12th November ten students from the MSc Leading People-centred Integrated Care at the University of the West of Scotland joined me in a conversation with IFIC Scotland’s Reference Network.  The virtual session was organised to allow the students to share their experiences of participating in the Masters programme, now in its 3rd year.  This short video gives an overview of the programme.

All students were keen to be involved but some were unable to attend at the arranged time. However I was delighted all 3 Masters cohorts were represented. They highlighted the breadth and depth of the health and social care workforce and the rich variety of professional experience: some working in community health services, acute care, social care, independent sector, the third sector and education. Some are at the start of their career, while others are well established on their career paths.  It is fantastic to have such a diverse and committed group of students.

Listening to each student speak of their learning and describe the impact on self, team and organisation, stopped me in my tracks. I had no idea of the extent of the impact on individuals, services and the people and communities they serve. Words like ‘brave’, ‘confident’, ‘relevant to practice’, and ‘promotion’ were being used throughout – it was incredible. This was everything I had hoped the programme would achieve and much more.  You can read a summary here. 

It is so easy to under-estimate the role that educators play in improving outcomes through facilitating and supporting learning and developing practice. However the conversations with the students made it clear that educators have a key role in enabling the shift in culture and practice that is required for transformational change towards truly integrated care for people and communities, across all sectors. Having moved from nurse education into the broader field of integrated practice, I appreciate the value of cross-sectoral learning and of sharing insights and good practice across disciplines, and across the life stages. But it is only when practitioners and managers get together to talk about their roles and practice that we recognise their shared values and the depth of their passion for better outcomes.

It is an honour for me to work with and learn from such motivated practitioners. It is incredible how engaged they are with the programme despite the exceptional challenges they are facing in their work each day through the COVID 19 panademic. Just writing this has made me realise what a fortunate position I am in – meeting and working alongside inspirational students, not only at postgraduate level but also at undergraduate level. This experience has shaped the person I am today. Knowing that each and every student is a future leader and a champion for people-centred integrated care, fuels my commitment to education and my passion for sharing my learning from others with others.

The opportunity to pause and reflect on the programme with the members of the Reference Network was enormously powerful for the students. Indeed, for me, it was both inspirational and motivational. I know what I need to do to ensure the MSc Leading People Centred-integrated Care and BA (Hons) Integrated Health and Social Care programmes continue to inform and shape practice. With my colleagues at UWS, I am proud to enable students to build their knowledge, skills, confidence and connections to develop, deliver, lead and transform care and support – and, in turn, to achieve the best possible outcomes for, and with, people and communities.

Helen Rainey
Programme lead,
MSc Leading People-centred Integrated Care,
University of the West of Scotland
helen.rainey@uws.ac.uk    @helenr1976