Fran Davies meets Rob Waterson, this year’s Company sponsored scholarship winner

Recently I visited the University of East London to meet Rob Waterson who is our Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) scholar this year. The Company is invited by the FNF each year to join the selection interviews for the scholar we sponsor and I was impressed with Rob’s presentation and the project he has completed. Rob’s project looks at virtual teaching for students in placements. There are often difficulties finding suitable placements for the students and utilising some of the virtual skills developed in lockdown, Rob has created an environment that enables students to be in “clinical areas” using some of the latest technologies such as virtual reality (VR).

Rob has led the recreation of clinical areas such as ITU, A&E and a six bedded ward, all equipped with the latest equipment. The mannequins are lifelike and have the latest technology - they can be controlled remotely and be set to suffer clinical episodes such as abnormal observations, cardiac arrest and there is also the ability to see inside a pregnant mannequin showing abnormalities of foetal position. Rob has plans to refurbish more areas for clinics to take place and create more realistic learning opportunities. The building was officially opened by King Charles recently, much to Rob’s delight as he was able to showcase the facilities. Those of us who trained many years ago will have had a very different experience in clinical classroom learning.

Rob will finish his scholarship in May 2023 and will collate the findings of his project looking at student satisfaction. I look forward to hearing how the project has been evaluated and am hoping that Rob will join us at an education event to tell us about his work.

Rob was promoted last Christmas and is now Dean of the Faculty of Health, Sport and Bioscience.  I asked Rob what being sponsored by the Company for this prestigious scholarship meant to him and he said:

“The FNF scholarship has helped with the skill set required to do the new job. It has given me a community of other scholars enabling networking and support which will continue after the course has finished. Being an FNF scholar is great for my future nursing career, and I am very grateful to the Company for sponsoring me”.

Fran Davies, Immediate Past Master