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Pauline Pearson

Career Path: Professor of Nursing, Northumbria University
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

I initially started out as a Staff Nurse in the Accident and Emergency Department at Royal Victoria Infirmary then in 1978 moved to being a Student Health Visitor. Upon graduation I worked as a Health Visitor at Denton Park Health Centre then at the Riverside Child Health Project. In September 1993 I began work as a Lecturer in Primary Care Nursing in the Department of Primary Health Care at the University of Newcastle and moved across to Northumbria in 2009 to take up the post of Professor of Nursing at what was then the School of Health. In May 2013 alongside my role as Professor of Nursing I became the Research and Innovation Director for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.

What are you doing now?Pauline Pearson

I am now Emerita Professor of Nursing, Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Health. I have a strong background in health services research, and good links with a range of health and social care providers across the North East. My interests include care quality and patient safety, inter professional working, workforce change and aspects of public health and primary care practice. I gave evidence to the Health Select Committee’s sixth report on Patient Safety in 2009, and continued to research in this area as part of SLIPPS project part funded by Erasmus+ before my retirement. Since then I have continued to publish and examine in these areas. I am also currently a Governor of the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust, and an Anglican priest looking after a church to the north of Newcastle.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I saw an advert for a new degree course in Nursing, one of very few at that time.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

We were a small group of 15 students so a very positive learning environment.

How connected was your course with industry?

We had placements in each module with time at beginning and end plus one day a week to attend university.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

By the end of the course I had been on a placement in health visiting, which I later went into - and had job offers in the two areas I had worked in (it was the 1970s!) and took the offer to work in A&E to consolidate my clinical skills.

What was the best thing about your course?

The integration of university and practice; high quality teaching of sociology, social policy and psychology as well as research methods; and the small cohesive motivated student group.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

Degrees in nursing were rare at that time - it gave me confidence to ask questions in practice, and later to get one of the first part time research studentships offered by the then Newcastle Health Authority in collaboration with Newcastle Polytechnic (Northumbria University's predecessor institution).

Which skills/ knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

I gained a fantastic grounding in so many areas - key clinical areas, communication skills (we were observed doing role plays when it was not at all common in healthcare), as well as sociology, social policy, psychology and research methods. All of these skills have been important throughout my career.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

Everything! A great course, fascinating placements and lots of friends for life.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

It's a great place to study and still leading edge for nursing - Come and see!

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Stimulating, worthwhile and collegial.

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