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Student support during lockdown

You’ve been taking to social media in your droves to tell us all about the Queen’s staff who have gone above and beyond to support you during the transition to off-campus learning. Here’s what you had to say…

Reassurance, direction and practical help

“As a first year student, it has been daunting to be new during these uncertain times. I have contacted Megan O’Brien from the Student Drop In Wellbeing service and she has given me great reassurance, direction and offers of practical help too. It's a great comfort to know there is someone at the end of the phone ready to listen and to help even though the buildings are closed! She is so understanding and empathetic and I want to thank her for all of her help and the kindness she has given me over the past 3 months. She is truly one in a million!” - via Facebook

Interactive, fantastic learning experience

“Carolyn Moorhead is a fantastic personal tutor. She took the time to get to know me so she can help and support me fully, checking in regularly to make sure I felt supported. She suggested yoga and mindfulness meetings as additional support. Her lectures have been packed full of content and been interesting and interactive. Fantastic learning.” - via Facebook

Guidance and support by phone

“The Student Centre closed, I have been in contact with Megan O’Brien from the Student Drop In. It's always good to know the phone service is still available and she has given me good advice and guidance. The students don't have to feel as isolated as the service is still available and there are still plenty of activities online that we can take part in. Megan is the friendliest person, she offers brilliant guidance and reassurance at this really difficult time, and it’s nice to have a continuous relationship with her even when the uni is closed!” - Cáelainn McAloran, via Facebook

One to one Teams sessions

“Dr Jamie Pow, a lecturer in Politics, kept our Politics class informed the entire way during the lockdown process. He made his diary available for online one to one MS Teams sessions before work had to be submitted and after we completed the module he has stayed in touch with the class. He emailed out political opportunities online for leadership programmes and also some other political websites we may be interested in. It wouldn’t have been possible to complete this module online without Jamie’s guidance. Thank you!” - via Facebook

Calm leadership

“Clare Hughes in the Midwifery team set up emergency Zooms, sorted out placements, offered student support for every student, not just her own students. She was a source of calm and created interesting conferences and Zooms to guide learning. - via Facebook

Constant support

“Professor Ken Mills and Dr Sharon Eddie Parkinson have bent over backwards to support me through healthy problems this year and continued to step up when I was stuck at home studying with my kids in tow. It was pretty miserable situation sitting finals in lockdown but they did a great job of keeping us in the loop and pulling other lecturers together for us.” Coleen Magill, via Facebook

Navigating new exam formats

“Mary Gillespie from the School of Midwifery helped us navigate a new exam format, answered emails at all times of the day, responded to queries, fears and at times just relieved my mind. She also set up regular Zooms and helped us guide our studying.” - via Facebook

Facilitating online graduation

“Prof Neil Kennedy in the School of Medicine has been a star - first off organising webinars to answer our concerns about COVID-19 when we were in placement, answering emails while getting hundreds per day, organising an online graduation for us and still being a working paediatrician! Couldn't think of anyone better!” -  via Facebook

Providing a sounding board

“I am a first year student in midwifery and I cannot overstate the support Gail Anderson has given to our cohort this year! Even before lockdown she was approachable and a great sounding board. She has gone over and above, responding to emails, offering guidance and one on one support. She has made my lockdown experience as a student manageable, thanks Gail!” - Jane Gilvary via Facebook

Quality online material

“Trish McTighe has made the transition for us first year drama students so smooth! She’ll reply to an email in a matter of hours, and is always willing to call or Skype or Zoom, whatever we prefer! Trish is someone who you can guarantee will go above and beyond for you, and this didn’t change during lockdown. The quality of the material she posted online for us was second to none.” -via Twitter

Academic & emotional support

“Gail Anderson, midwifery lecturer has gone above and beyond for our first year cohort. She is always checking in and ensuring we are well informed. Not only does she support us academically, but she checked in on how our emotional wellbeing. Nothing was ever to much trouble. This wasn't the way we thought 1st year would end, but with Gail’s support, we have got through.” -Eleanor Corken via Facebook

The best in the world

“Norma Menabney is the best librarian in the whole wide world and is keeping that up as we all work from home. She is a complete star. Adored by staff and students alike.” - Laura Lundy

Ensuring safe placement opportunities

“Janine Stockdale and Jenny McNeill from the School of Midwifery have both gone above and beyond for our year to ensure our learning outcomes are met. Our course is full time and Janine has made herself available any time of day to support all students in online learning and to ensure no student is disadvantaged by social and lifestyle circumstances that might affect their learning. Janine is working incredibly hard to ensure the safety of the students in our year and every year, while Jenny has been working incredibly hard behind the scenes to make sure we will not be disadvantaged by this virus. She has kept us up to date and informed throughout this period and has been an excellent advocate for all students alike- for example, ensuring all students receive PPE training before attending placements and making sure we all feel safe. I am greatly appreciative of both of these ladies and the entire midwifery team at Queen’s and everything they have done for us.” Eilish Eveny via Facebook

Confidence-building workshops

“Feeling frightened joining the workforce six months before the completion of my course, Queen’s simulated workshops have provided immense reassurance, valuable revision and practice of skills which are essential in caring for sick COVID-19 patients. Thank you for building my confidence and reminding me that I can do this” - Queen’s nursing student

Encouraging personal leadership

“Barry Quinn from Queen’s School of Nursing and Midwifery has been an invaluable source of support for me personally and for the wider student body. As a student rep, Barry has supported me and encouraged me to develop leadership during these difficult times. He has checked in to ask about our emotional health and wellbeing and he has been working tirelessly to provide support for the whole nursing and midwifery student body as they tried to navigate their way through COVID-19.” - via Facebook

Dedicated to students

“Deborah Rainey has been incredible throughout this whole time in her role leading the placements team at Queen’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. Debbie was so supportive throughout this time, trying to accommodate students as best she could. She is dedicated to student experience and ensuring they have opportunities to gain vital competencies on placement. Debbie’s tenacity, dedication and unwavering commitment to students is phenomenal and absolutely commendable.” - via Facebook

Safe pair of hands

“Donna Fitzsimmons is a natural leader. During COVID-19, it has been evident just how much students’ welfare and experience has been a top priority for her. This was an incredibly challenging time and the need for strong leadership, commitment and utmost professionalism was a must, and this was demonstrated on many occasions. Donna’s demeanour throughout all of this has been incomparably compassionate, empathetic and brave. Along with a phenomenal team, difficult decisions had to be made and plans of action had to be formulated in order to meet the increasing and ever changing demands that were needed to tackle the challenges of COVID-19. At the same time, maintaining the integrity of Queen’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and protecting the welfare and experiences of students. As a final year nursing student, I felt safe and had every bit of faith my future was protected in their hands. On a personal level I am left awe-inspired by Donna’s kindness, tenacity, compassion and utmost professionalism as a leader, nurse and school head; I will always be grateful for the opportunities to witness and be in receipt of all the hard work put in to support the whole student body. Donna is truly inspiring for nursing and midwifery students about to jump the nest and for the wider nursing and midwifery profession.” - via Facebook

Kindness and caring

“We are thankful to the whole Queen’s midwifery team working hard in this crisis. In particular, my personal tutor, Clare Hughes. Clare's kindness, empathy and understanding of each of our situations has ensured that we have felt supported as third year midwifery students who have had to opt out due to personal circumstances. Clare checks in with us weekly, listens to our concerns and worries and asks is there anything she can do. She answers our questions, is always there to listen and although we aren’t sitting there beside her, by her supportive words it feels like she is beside us giving us a hug. Clare has her own classes to teach but she also involved in the Connections team offering and providing support to any student who needs it. We are very thankful for how kind, caring and supportive Clare has been during these unprecedented times.” Eimir Martin, via Facebook

Online lectures that resonate

“I hit a wall with lectures and then listened to Alison Smart in the school of Nursing and Midwifery. Give a stroke lecture, which I clicked with totally. It got me back on track studying with the faith in myself that I could still do this even in lockdown.” – k_aoibhinn via Twitter

Innovative Zoom lessons

“Jen McKenna from the School of Midwifery was available to answer emails in triple quick time, day or night. She was innovative with scissors, a sponge and shoelaces to teach us things on Zoom; she was the voice of reason, being calm and just understanding where we are all coming from. She also organised our module, dealt with multiple students worries and concerns, alongside essays, and teaching - juggling it all without a single word of complaint.” - via Facebook

Staff writer