Faculty Spotlight: Ms. Jen Blakelidge
Jen Blakelidge has a wide range of healthcare experience and leads AUC’s Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM) courses for UK Track students. She earned her DipHE in Psychology from Sheffield Hallam University, followed by her DipHE in Nursing, BSc (Honors) in Professional Practice, and PGCert in Medical Education from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
Describe an experience that helped form you as an educator.
I have always enjoyed sharing knowledge and teaching in clinical practice. I would often spend time in the operating theatres with students answering questions and demonstrating techniques. I find it incredibly rewarding to help others gain insight into how to provide excellent patient care. My own experiences as a student, mentor, patient, and relative have heavily influenced my approach to medical education.
What attracted you to AUC’s UK Track program?
I love having the opportunity to create real-world scenarios and to utilize new and emerging technologies in my teaching. I was attracted by the prospect of providing a new and unique experience for students studying in the UK Track program, and I am enjoying blending my years of experience and knowledge in UK National Health Service (NHS) hospitals with the US-style program.
What is your favorite thing about teaching in AUC’s UK Track program?
I love the staff; I have been welcomed into the team, and my ideas and experiences are always valued. The students are so friendly and keen to learn, everyone is willing to get involved with practical sessions and not afraid to learn from each other. We have a great mix of diverse cultures – just like in clinical practice. It’s a real opportunity to prepare for real-world clinical settings in a safe environment.
Are you involved with any student organizations or other student activities?
I am a speaker for the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) anesthetics society and am involved with the Lancashire Science Festival which introduces medicine to primary school children.
What are some of your favorite things about Preston?
There are some lovely parks near the campus, great for a lunchtime walk (weather permitting). We have great on-campus sports facilities and there are loads of amazing restaurants, takeaways, and cafés to try new cuisines. The people of Preston and Lancashire in general are very friendly – you always get a smile or a “good morning” as you walk around the city Centre.
How would you like for students to describe you years from now?
“Do you remember Jen – she was like Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus! The woman who taught us the importance of the patient and how to care for them and their families, showing compassion, knowledge, skill, and commitment to excellence.”
What makes you look forward to the start of a new semester?
Meeting new students and helping them to start their lifelong healthcare journey along with seeing current students grow and progress. It’s a real privilege to be on this learning voyage with the future physicians of AUC’s UK Track program, and I take great pride in helping students achieve those lightbulb moments.
What’s something about you that not many people know or that your students would be surprised to learn?
I love theme parks. I was in the Mardi Gras parade at Universal Studios! I even got married in Disney World – yes, Mickey and Minnie Mouse were at my wedding!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love running – I get up at 4 am every day to run. I also love playing Dungeons and Dragons, going to Comicon, watching live musicals with my friends, and cross stitching (which I took up during lockdown).
What would you be doing if you hadn’t gone into medical education?
I would have carried on working in anesthetics and recovery and continued to teach in practice.
Any last thoughts?
It is a real joy to teach students the clinical skills that will help them to provide excellent – and, at times, lifesaving – patient care. AUC’s UK Track is a fantastic program for anyone wishing to gain insight into how healthcare works in the UK.
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