Celebrating MED’s Community Celebrating MED’s Community

'Celebrating MED'

Each month we focus on a colleague within Norwich Medical School and celebrate their work, a current project, a recent achievement or an area (in or outside of work) they are particularly proud of.

It is a chance to get to know those we work with, and for us all to be aware of the wonderfully talented community that is MED!

Alys Burns - MB BS Course Director Alys Burns - MB BS Course Director

What is your ‘success’ story, good news or positivity you would like to share?

I am very proud to have been appointed to my new role as MB BS Course Director and Clinical Professor of Medical Education at Norwich Medical School.

Can you explain the importance of this success for you and your role in MED (if relevant to your role)? What has allowed you/made it possible to achieve this?

It offers me huge scope in my career from a background of both clinical and postgraduate education to bring my experience and skills to the undergraduate setting and to work with the University more widely. Six weeks into the role, this has felt most welcoming and enriching.

My clinical credibility, professional development in postgraduate medical education, leadership development, coaching and self-belief have all enabled this.

Were there any challenges that you had to overcome?

Continuing to believe that I had something to offer despite setbacks with other potential opportunities.

Completing my MA in Medical Education while working full time was a very real, but also very rewarding, challenge.

What are your plans for the future?

My immediate priority is to become fully familiar with the MB BS Course and those who deliver and support it, as well as the students, identifying both strengths and areas for development. I will then look to apply this understanding in the context of the strategic directions for UEA and nationally for medical education and how we can meet these, and at the same time make the course at Norwich Medical School even better!

How do you create life/work balance in your career?

I have worked full time during my career and have three lovely children, one with learning disabilities. Finding a balance has been difficult and involved a lot of late nights, one way or another! Quality time with the family has been hugely important as well as creating a little bit of ‘me’ time, too.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

Having only started to learn to play 3 years ago, the ability to play my clarinet as a concert soloist.

Colin bryant - team and operations coordinator Colin bryant - team and operations coordinator

What is your ‘success’ story, good news or positivity you would like to share?

I’ve thought long and hard about this question, I feel that my most successful achievement has been my successful career as a Medic with the Royal Army medical Corps, I specialised in Primary Care and Battlefield Trauma as well as achieving a Licentiateship in Leadership and Management.

Can you explain the importance of this success for you and your role in MED (if relevant to your role)? What has allowed you/made it possible to achieve this?

My career to date, has allowed me to work with people from across a wide spectrum of backgrounds and professions. I have developed a flexible approach towards leadership and management. 

The Team and Operations Coordinator role, includes managing the Local Support Team, as well as the strategic delivery of projects across MED. My training, knowledge and skills in delivering, projects and programmes of work, as well as implementing organisational change has prepared me to help deliver strategic objectives as well as managing the team effectively.

Were there any challenges that you had to overcome?

The main challenge was learning how to develop systems and strategies to assist with dyslexia, a condition which was not fully understood at the time. The challenge for me in particular was to ensure that I put in extra work to achieve the academic requirements and to successfully complete the training and to complete professional development.    

What are your plans for the future?

To developing new systems and ways of working, complete projects which will enable MED to expand and grow.

In what countries/organisations have you studied or worked?

As well as the UK I have worked in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Central Europe, Kenya, Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia. In most part with the Ministry of Defence and the United Nations. In 2011 I studied and completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical Audit at the Sheffield Hallam University, most recently I have been involved with operational management with the NHS in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.  

Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

Gwithian beach, in Cornwall this is situated on the North Cornish coast, in my opinion there’s no better beach and consistent surf in the world. 

barbara jane - blackboard support barbara jane - blackboard support

The Journey to Blackboard

A varied career has included four studentships and jobs from nannying to my current eminence as Blackboard guru.  The consistent thread that has carried me through has been a determined attitude to problem solving; I rely on that every day now in Blackboard and it was central too to my main job which was as a dance costumier. 

Show business is a rollercoaster of highs and lows and there were very many memorable moments in my 30 years.  One of the best was the first time one of my Royal Ballet costumes was on posters all over London.

My school was like a cross between Gormenghast and Hogwarts.  It was normal to be different and their commitment to every pupil was personified by my Maths teacher Miss Brown.

In the 1960s it was usual for children having surgery for scoliosis to be in hospital for around 8 months.  Miss Brown visited me for an hour once a week for every term-time week, setting me homework and keeping me in touch with the course.  One of the very first female teachers to wear a trouser-suit to work, her attitude both to herself and to her subject were an inspiration.  She was more pleased than I was when I came top of my set in the mock O-Level and would be delighted if she knew I had turned into a geek in later life!