Renée Francis: "Never be afraid to ask for help"

Renée is the Lead for Pre-Registration Education at our Croydon Campus. She has day-to-day management responsibilities for all courses within the Institute of Health and Social Care at Croydon.

How did you get into this line of work?

My background is learning disabilities nursing. I had an aunt with Down syndrome and growing up I saw how my grandparents fought to get services created for people with learning disabilities at a time when there weren’t many services available in the community. It made me realise at an early age how political a career in learning disabilities is!

I qualified as a learning disabilities nurse in 1997, and I have worked in residential services, a day service and a community learning disabilities team. I also worked as a research assistant supporting a person with learning disabilities to interview other service users about their health. I moved into education in 2006 and joined LSBU in 2011. While at LSBU, I have worked as the Course Director for the BSc (Hons) Learning Disabilities Nursing and in a cross-institute role as Senior Lecturer for Practice Learning, Skills and Simulation.

What do you find most rewarding about your career?

I love giving students opportunities to think differently about their practice, to see the person they are giving their care and support to, and to uphold and promote their rights.

What appealed to you about the new opportunity at LSBU Croydon?

My role at Croydon gives me the opportunity to combine the knowledge, skills and experience I have gained through my work at LSBU so far. I will draw on my Course Director experience to manage course delivery and support students. I will be able to build on my links with practice learning partners to develop new partnerships and practice learning opportunities. I was also able to be involved at an early stage in the design and development of our state of the art simulation suite and skills labs. I love the way that all of that previous experience dovetails into my new role at Croydon.

What do you think the future holds for Croydon?

It’s really exciting! We will be developing valuable community resources such as our new chiropractic clinic. I’m committed to developing a teaching and learning space that is part of the local community. This has involved meeting with local community leaders and groups to find ways of collaborating for the good of our students and the local community. I want to work with our students to make our Croydon campus a learning space that really works for them.

What would you tell prospective students considering LSBU Croydon?

LSBU Croydon will give students a unique opportunity to be part of the creation of a new learning community. We will have state of the art facilities such as our skills and simulation suites for our nursing students and our new chiropractic clinic, but we will still have a friendly, local feel to the campus.

What advice would you give students to help them succeed and reach their potential?

Never be afraid to ask for help. You will have a team of academics and support staff around you who want you to succeed and achieve. It’s always better to deal with problems at an early stage than to let them get out of control - just talk to us.

In general, what keeps you motivated?

Every day is different, and every day is a learning opportunity. It’s exciting to be able to share how Croydon is developing with colleagues, the local community and, most importantly, with our prospective students.

Find out more about our new Croydon Campus.


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