“BU has given me the skills and knowledge to be a better person and make the hospital a better place for everyone else.”
BU has played a key role throughout Marie Miller’s life and career, right up to her current position as Matron for Cancer Care at University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust (UHD).
“I completed my A-levels in 1999," said Marie. "At this time I was not academically ready for a degree and my BU journey began with an Advanced Diploma in Nursing at BU which was the right thing for me to do.
“I am a more practical than academic person and enjoy being ‘hands on’. I quickly learnt and became competent with the practical side of things. However, as I grew and developed as a person and nurse, my academic abilities grew with me and improved.”
After qualifying in 2002 Marie began working as a Vascular Surgical Nurse at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital (RBCH) before moving on to the Haematology and Oncology Ward, where she became a Senior Nurse.
During this time she completed modules at BU to gain her BSc Adult Nursing degree and Marie believes the practical experience nursing students gain as part of their degree is equally as important as the academic grounding.
“You wouldn’t be able to qualify as a nurse without doing those practical placements – you have to learn on the job with that hands-on care, learning how to look after patients with a real patient in front of you. Theoretical knowledge is needed to underpin the nursing care.”
After several years on the Ward, Marie became a Practice Educator at RBCH, teaching nurses to safely administer chemotherapy treatments, amongst other skills, practically and theoretically.
It was at this point that Marie returned to BU to undertake a Postgraduate Certificate in Education Practice, which she completed in 2011.
Marie completed further modules in critical thinking, leadership, finance and undertook a Service Improvement Project to receive a Master’s Degree in Advanced Practice in 2016.
“The courses weren’t necessarily related to nursing, but more about me and my behaviours and my practice, and how I could develop as a person and look at things differently.
"This course further allowed me to meet people from different health services to get the full holistic approach to patient care and listen to other people’s journeys.
"I also really appreciated the support that you receive at Bournemouth University – across all of my courses, and with different lecturers, it was always very positive and they were very supportive.”
During her time as Practice Educator, Marie also supported others in their journey to becoming nurses with BU.
“A number of Healthcare Assistants I had working with me on the Wards have now graduated from BU as a nurse and are working across Dorset and the world.
"Therefore BU gave them the opportunity to develop and gave me the skills to support this development to become amazing nurses.”
In 2015 Marie became Matron for Cancer Care at RBCH, now UHD, managing the Cancer Care Directorate and Palliative Wards at the hospital, taking responsibility for their staffing, finance, quality improvements and governance structures.
“It’s a great place to live and work and I love my job, I love where I am and I love the people I work with.
What I love most about my job is that I am here to make it better for patients – although I do all the background work, your end result is to improve the journey for the patients and it gives them a better experience while they are here.”
Marie added that her time and experiences at BU helped her develop academically, practically and personally.
“It gave me better insight into how I am as a person, and how my skills and knowledge are enhanced by theory and thinking about how I put the things that I have learnt at university into practice.
What you learn at university never leaves you, and my time at BU has given me the skills and knowledge to be a better person and make the hospital a better place for everyone else.”