Nothing gives me more satisfaction than providing people with the skills and knowledge they require to do their job
Colleague Spotlight | Racquel Wilkes
I am a 49 year old, Black British women who never thought she would go to university, let alone become a part-time lecturer at one. I have always worked hard to achieve my goals, and decided after having my children that if I had my time again I would be a nurse. I completed an Access course in Nursing and Midwifery, whilst attending night school to gain a C in GCSE maths, and then went on to complete a BSc Degree in Adult Nursing.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to working within the School of Health
In 2019 I was a Clinical Educator for Cardio-Respiratory at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust (LTHT). An opportunity to gain a PG Cert in Clinical Education became available which was funded by my employer. As part of the course I could apply for the NMC Teaching qualification, but this involved gaining teaching experience in a University to achieve the hours required. I approached Leeds Beckett University (LBU) who supported me with teaching 1st year nursing students with clinical skills. Once I demonstrated my passion for teaching and developing our future workforce I was offered a part-time lecturing post.
I currently work for Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust (LTHT) as a Practice Learning Facilitator (PLF). My main role focuses on supporting students when in placements and ensuring staff know how to support our future workforce. I achieve this by ensuring staff are up to date with policies and procedures to ensure that the students feel supported during placements, and receive feedback on how they are progressing.
What makes you passionate around your work and why is it important?
I have always been passionate about supporting and developing people due to my previous roles before becoming a nurse. I have been a Team Leader, Team Manager and a Training Officer. Nothing gives me more satisfaction to provide people with the skills and knowledge they require to do the job they have been employed to do. Since becoming a registered nurse in 2015, I am passionate about helping patients and helping staff.
How is collaboration integral to your work, and what are one or two collaborations that have been most meaningful to you?
I knew when I was deciding where I wanted to start my nursing career that I wanted to work on a ward, due to having a team around me so that I have that support network there. When I started at LBU my mentor at the time was there for me to ask questions, which helped with my confidence. That support they showed me, I have shared with other new staff to the team as I think it is important to feel part of a team and that you can ask those silly questions, or ask for clarification after a meeting where you really don’t know anyone.
Knowing that I can approach anyone within the Nursing Team, regardless of their status, is really important to me.
What achievements in this area have you been most proud of while working in the School of Health?
I have been most proud of the fact I managed to support my students through the Covid 19 pandemic. It was hard for me working in the Trust, but also supporting the students virtually. Through mine and their resilience, we supported each other.
I have also been proud of being able to pick up some new skills, such as essay marking and auditing. All of these could not have been done without the support of the Nursing Team. They have all been there (albeit virtually), and that team support has meant a lot to me.