Originally from Nigeria, Victory Oforji has lived, studied, and worked in the UK since January 2015.

Before starting her studies with QMU, Victory had completed a nursing diploma in her home country of Nigeria and followed that with a BSc (Hons) Nursing and MSc Nursing at the University of Sunderland in London where she graduated first class with distinction. Having developed a love for learning she decided to progress her studies at QMU and is now working towards her e-PgCert Professional and Higher education.

Your online study course

Victory tells us more about her positive experience of online study on the course and her drive to create better access to education and more inclusive, flexible learning opportunities for international students.  

My extensive nursing education and qualifications have given me the opportunity to work in both the public and private healthcare services, as well as run my own independent business. I currently work as a Clinical Nurse in the Emergency Department with Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, where I am also a Nursing Practice Educator, which is something I also do on behalf of private healthcare providers and trainers. I have been a nurse since 2013 and throughout my career I have taken a combined role in Clinical Practice, Nursing Research, Clinical Governance and Education both in my home country. and as an immigrant in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

In addition to my clinical and educational commitments, I run a joint private business, Synergy International Nursing Network that facilitates training and support for overseas nurses looking to migrate to the UK and Ireland.

I currently live in Salisbury, Wiltshire, a small town in the Southeast region of England with my husband and our 8 months old baby girl.

Why did you choose to study the PgCert Professional and Higher Education at QMU?

As an immigrant I have become used to being subjected to various rules and situations that makes education and learning more challenging and stressful compared to my peers that were UK based students. I have taken time to look at areas that need improvement within my practice, and I really wanted to raise awareness about some of the barriers and challenges that international students often experience when trying to access and progress through the education system. As I have had firsthand experience of being an international student studying in the UK, I believe I had the potential to be a force for change – raising awareness of exclusive nature of some of the education systems and identifying ways to improve access to education for international students.

Consequently, to achieve this I needed to get the right educational skills and qualifications, hence I decided to take up a postgraduate course in education. However, when I started to research where I could study this, again most institutions were inflexible and exclusive in their offers. However, QMU seemed to have put a lot of thought into including a wide range of students in the development of this programme for the following reasons:

  • The programme was fully online, part-time, flexible, and reflective of students’ experiences, which was a blessing to me as I had just had a baby and in full-time employment, so anything else would be impossible to achieve.

  • The programme was not just a postgraduate certificate but was extended to cover both higher education and professional education. I did not want to choose between education in clinical practice and higher education so the duel nature of this course allowed me to learn about both of the areas which are important for my future development.

  • The programme was more affordable for individuals classed as ‘International Students’ compared to other institutions. Most institutions would charge me double the price despite me working for the NHS and requiring the course for my future development and progression within the NHS.

  • The programme has an online student and staff discussion forum that almost makes me forget that it is an online study. This was very significant to me, as I had not previously taken any online studies and was nervous about taking one.

 

How have you managed to balance your professional role and other commitments with your studies?

This has been quite challenging at times in my previous studies, but easier to navigate because of how the PgCert programme at QMU is structured. I have been able to carry out what is needed for my studies at a more relaxed pace. This is because the programme is spread out in a very realistic, adaptable, and accommodating manner. By this, I mean a lot of consideration was put into the need for mature students to meet other commitments. One intriguing aspect of this plan is the fact that a detailed timetable and guidance was provided at the commencement of the course. This made it easy to plan for the entire semester because I could effectively schedule my academic, professional, and personal commitments. I have successfully completed semester 1, which I got an A for too!

Do you feel the course is helping you with your current role? If so, please expand on how it is helping you.

Absolutely, Yes! It exceeded my expectations too. It is still early, but I have completed one module in one semester, and it seems I am already equipped to start making the changes I have always wanted. Remember, my first reason for taking the course was to highlight the issues of an exclusive, inflexible educational system. Happily, taking the first module, Curriculum Design in Learning, has given me the opportunity to explore this deeply from the perspective of my experience. I looked into "Inclusivity in curriculum design" within my discipline by creating an innovative video, to reflect on this issue. This video has further been used within my department to promote an inclusive curriculum and I now aim to reach a wider range of people by getting it on the Royal College of Nursing website to hopefully influence UK nursing curriculum in general. I have also personally changed my entire perspective to curriculum design in practice. So, yes, I feel like the course has already helped me in my current role.

What kind of support have you had from QMU staff? Are there any particular University services or individuals that you’ve called for support?

I have received both technical, student service and academic support. I liked how responsive members of staff are to students' needs. This is inclusive of both academic and non-academic staff. One significant support I received was from the International Office, the staff were really supportive, provided a listening ear and had patience when I had a delay with renewing my visa due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I also enjoyed the network of student support that has provided me with academic support and the opportunity to learn some transferable skills.

what advice would you give to any students considering undertaking a postgraduate certificate in Education, ?

Take the step, it is worth it. Do your research and do not accept less! The PgCert Professional and Higher Education  at QMU is really flexible, well-planned, accommodating and inclusive, encouraging scaffolding of existing knowledge and experience, which provides very practical learning. It is online but really gives you a supportive student experience.

What do you plan to do following completion of your QMU programme?

I plan to use this qualification and knowledge to apply for a job as the Lead for Practice Education within the overseas OSCE nurses programme at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, where I can get more access to stakeholders and create change within the programme curriculum as a starting point. I’d then like to progress further into management roles within nursing education at UK universities.

 

 

"The programme was fully online, part-time, flexible, and reflective of students’ experiences, which was a blessing to me as I had just had a baby and in full-time employment, so anything else would be impossible to achieve."
Victory Oforji

[Story published in August 2021]

Professional and Higher Education

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