Huey Ling Pang, currently undertaking the MSc in Advanced Dementia Studies at the University of Bradford, shares her experience of studying with us:
Aged care is my passion. When I migrated to Australia almost a decade ago, I had the privilege to work in a residential aged care home where almost 80% of the residents are living with some form of dementia. I have witnessed and experienced for myself the positive and lasting impact of care on residents and their families where their needs are recognised and supported as well as when their uniqueness as individuals are celebrated.
My role as a Dementia Services Consultant gives me the opportunity to lead, support and guide a team of staff in the care homes to facilitate and embed our person-centred approach when caring for our residents. It also takes me to many care homes – which often lead me to question and reflect that person-centred principles apply not just for our residents and their families, they also apply to how our staff are being treated and valued. This led me to pursue my MSc in Advanced Dementia Studies – partly because I want to acquire the knowledge and skills to support the care homes better, and partly because I realised how much I still need to learn after all these years of nursing!
My last three years with Bradford have been both exciting and challenging, having to juggle studies with work and family commitments – peppered with a dash of Covid-19 in between. I have enjoyed making new “virtual” friends, learning new things (and dementia-proofing my brain in the process) and acquiring positive studying habits and disciplines. I appreciate how each one of us is trying to support each other during this trying period in our own little ways. Because I am based in Australia, I cannot thank the lecturers and my classmates enough for having tutorials at an earthly time. I am also a student with my children, especially my daughter who is in her second year in university, I have especially enjoyed the times when we bonded by studying together – sharing tips on literature review, how to use EndNote (thanks, to my dissertation supervisor Catherine, for introducing this to me!) and how to critically analyse published evidence.
In my dissertation project I am exploring how to enhance the training provision for care staff at my organisation to support the provision of person-centred care. In particular I am focusing on the use of reflective team discussions and how this approach might be implemented within my organisation.
I hope to go into teaching and education at some point in the future, and to develop the next generation of nurses and care staff. Much remains to be done if our goal is to achieve excellence in dementia care. At times, it does feel a bit like each of us is fighting a lone war. Have faith and believe that we may be one drop individually but together we are an ocean of limitless possibilities!
Written by Huey Ling Pang