Published
12 January 2023

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From Pain to Pleasure

Teach with CARE course helps nurse Hannah learn to love teaching

Hannah Louks

A year ago, just the thought of standing up in front of a group of people and attempting to teach them made Hannah Louks so nervous she felt physically sick and wanted to walk away.

Twelve months on, and thanks almost entirely to the St Christopher’s Teach with CARE course, Hannah is now embracing every opportunity to teach and imagining a future in which she’ll do more and more.

She adds: “I was always the person to shy away from teaching. It was something I never wanted to do, would avoid at all costs as it would make me feel so stressed. Now, I am the person persuading colleagues to do it. Teach with CARE has taught me so much.”

Hannah has worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) at St Christopher’s for five years and it wasn’t until Senior Educationalist, Maaike Vandeweghe asked her to give a presentation to some students about a life in the day of a palliative CNS, that she’d ever even attempted to address a group of learners. She says:

“It felt like I was standing up in front of a crowd at Wembley Stadium, I can’t tell you how nervous I felt,”

Hannah managed to overcome her anxiety to teach two practical skills sessions on syringe drivers before her manager encouraged her to go on the Teach with CARE course.

“It just had such an amazing effect on me. It flicked a switch in me and made me really see teaching in a totally different way. I think it was the reflective element of the course, putting yourself in the shoes of the learner and imagining being the person you always enjoyed listening to.”

For Hannah, that meant an inspiring English teacher who had always brought books to life and made the subject fun.

“I’d always just seen teaching as creating some slides, and then reading out the notes. What Teach with CARE has helped me understand is that it’s about talking with people and not at them and getting them to share their experiences.”

The four-day, part in-person, part online course is designed to help anyone serious about developing their teaching skills, putting the learner first and enhancing palliative and end of life care education. The course’s framework is built around four essential Cs of teaching: Collaborative, Current, Challenging and Context Specific.

Through Teach with CARE, Hannah has learned both essential skills like session planning which have helped her master timekeeping and prioritising the key messages, as well as how to integrate new technology like Mentimeter which can inject an interactive element, like polls, to a session.

Since completing the course Hannah has become an Visiting Lecturer, performing that role one day a week, alongside her clinical work. Running ECHO training for care homes, skills workshops and sensitive conversations sessions, Hannah really has developed a taste for teaching and this new-found set of skills and confidence has had a positive effect on her clinical work too.

She explains: “Teach with CARE has also helped me reflect on my own practice as a CNS, because as a CNS you’re teaching all the time anyway – whether that’s colleagues, patients or their families. It’s helped make me think more about the way I do that and the things that I say. I’ve always thought of myself as being pretty empathetic but now I feel like I’ve been able to take this to another level. The biggest thing is that I am now encouraging colleagues to teach too.”

Now, when Hannah looks ahead five to ten years, she sees a future when she could easily be doing even more teaching.

“If you’d told me that a year ago, I’d have thought you were mad. It’s crazy. I still get nervous the night before, but I really enjoy it.”

If you’re a health or social care professional looking to enhance your teaching and who’s committed to securing a healthy future for palliative and end of life care, find out more about and register for Teach with CARE here.

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