Sarah Postles, Lecturer HSC

We're proud of Sarah for tireless work supporting our future critical workers

This is a Proud to be Staffs Story

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Proud to be Staffs Story: Sarah Postles

Senior Lecturer, School of Health and Social Care

 

The Coronarvirus Pandemic has had a resounding impact on our community and many more around the world. Here the UK, our critical workers and future critical workers continue to work tirelessly to ensure that we get the help we need. This detailed story, in the words of the student nominator, blew us away. Thank you Sarah, for making us Proud to be Staffs.

 

Sarah Postle's Story

"Since coronavirus hit, the past 10 months have been a difficult and frustrating time for us all.  But for students studying healthcare degrees, it has thrown challenges our way that we could have never foreseen. This has not only impacted the students but lecturers alike.

Prior to COVID-19 19, our degree relied heavily upon practical skills sessions being delivered face to face, on campus. This enabled us to put the knowledge learnt during theory sessions into practice, get hands on with unfamiliar medical equipment, ask questions, make mistakes and work as part of a team with the full support of our lecturers. These practical sessions ensured we were fully prepared and comfortable with the skills prior to going out into ambulance trust placements where we would put our new knowledge and clinical skills in to practice in the real world.

As COVID-19 cases escalated, from mid-March 2020 the delivery of our degree moved online. This had a tremendous impact on our cohorts learning, completely removing our access to skills labs, equipment, and valuable practical sessions. Although most of our second year clinical skills sessions had been delivered prior to the escalation in cases, we were all aware that COVID-19 could potentially be around for a while and our final academic year was fast approaching. With a large proportion of our final year studies focused on learning and demonstrating new clinical skills at level 6, we were all left feeling uneasy by the prospective negative impact it could have on our qualification.

Although anxieties and frustrations were high going into my final academic year, they were soon eased when Sarah started delivering the theoretical sessions online. Sarah adapted her method of delivery to ensure all the online sessions were informative, structured, and engaging. Sarah requested student feedback on a regular basis and took all feedback on board, implementing all suggested improvements, where possible. As the first summative assessment for the module focused on Minor Injuries, it was important for students to have the knowledge and ability to locate specific anatomical landmarks, have a good working knowledge of the anatomy in relation to minor injuries and to understand specialist assessments to arrive at a working diagnosis and care plan.  

Due to the complexity of the content, it meant that solely talking to students online would not suffice. To address this and ensure that the unexpected situation did not impact our education, Sarah provided and recommended reading material which supported the taught content, developed extensive PowerPoint presentations to accompany her online taught sessions, provided weekly tasks to monitor understanding and where confusion occurred, Sarah was always happy to explain and she never shied away from questions or physical demonstrations on camera, only adding to and improving the student experience.

To accompany the online taught sessions, Sarah organised two covid safe onsite practical sessions, where students had the opportunity to put the theoretical content in to practice with the support of Sarah and a reduced number of the lecturing team. During the on campus sessions students received demonstrations, access to the lecturer’s extensive knowledge and were also provided with crib sheets detailing the pertinent information of the OSCE, as well as detailed scenarios that we could use to aid and structure our learning during practical sessions and also use as revision aids remotely. Organising on campus sessions was no easy task for Sarah given that multiple healthcare courses had to share the facilities and due to COVID-19,  there was limited availability given to each medical profession, which then had to be shared again across the multiple cohorts within each medical profession. But despite the challenges, Sarah overcome them, insuring we received adequate time and support to practice.

Sarah then went on to organise smaller online group sessions where she ran through scenarios, answered questions, gauged understanding, offered support, and addressed any concerns. Sarah always goes above and beyond to ensure that irrespective of learning style, there is something for everyone and nobody is disadvantaged as a result of the adjustments to delivery.

Although on site practical sessions were limited, Sarah also informed us that the labs would be available on the run up to Christmas for self-directed study, she explained that although these sessions would not be lecturer led, this did not mean that we could not contact her. Sarah explained that should we choose to access the labs; we could record our sessions, raise questions, or submit documents to her online and in turn she would provide feedback. I was one of the students that chose to access the labs for self-directed study and although I chose not to record the sessions, question did arise and I constructed a detailed document which I submitted to Sarah and true to her word, Sarah looked over the document and in return provided constructive feedback which aided my revision and preparation for the forthcoming exam.

With our first exam date fast approaching and the unfortunate announcement of another national lockdown, I was worried, stressed and concerned about the disruption this would cause to our summative exam scheduled for January 2021. But again, Sarah surpassed my expectations and insured that our examination went ahead as scheduled by taking precautions and putting covid safety measures in place to ensure that despite the lockdown, our education remained unaffected.

As Sarah’s module consists of three main aspects: a minor injury OSCE a minor illness OSCE, and an essay on chronic conditions. On top of all the aforementioned steps she took to avoid disruption to the first term of our third year, she also organised for specialist guest speakers, whose backgrounds complimented a predetermined list of chronic conditions, to deliver weekly online lectures providing students with an in-depth insight into each condition that could be used in our  chronic condition assignments. This demonstrated the shear amount of time, effort and thought that Sarah has put into this module, whilst also demonstrating her incredible ability to plan ahead and adapt.

Although this module is still ongoing, I am certain that the delivery, content, and support for this module will continue to surpass my expectations with Sarah at the helm.

To provide more depth to my nomination, I personally struggled to adjust to online learning, and I had concerns about the impact this would have not only on my grades but my ability to complete the course. When I began to struggle with a different module and my attempts to contact other lecturers had gone unanswered, I reached out to Sarah for help. Sarah responded within an hour of my initial message offering to help and when she was unable to provide assistance via team’s message or email, she took the time to arrange a call to discuss it and provide solutions to overcome the problems. Sarah has and continues to consistently provide me with the support, knowledge, and tools to move forward with my studies, to which I will be forever grateful.

Finally, I wanted a new challenge and took on the responsibility of student representative for my course this year, with no guidance or training provided prior to the role commencing. I mentioned this during a conversation with Sarah and she has been a tremendous support ever since. She has been on hand to lend a listening ear, offered guidance whenever I have required it, and also helped me to create an effective and professional format for collecting and putting forward student feedback. I simply would not be where I am now or the person I am now without Sarah’s undeniable support and encouragement.

Since joining the university in March 2019 Sarah has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the course. She is always supportive, approachable, and committed. Sarah approaches everything with a positive attitude and this is evident in her creative, organised, unconventional approach to her role as a paramedic lecturer. Her commitment and dedication to student experience, progression and welfare is admirable. Sarah is an absolute credit to Staffordshire University, and nobody is more deserving of this award."

 

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