Could you please introduce yourself and your role and tell us about your healthcare education?
“I am Stephanie West, Head of the School of Health and Care Management at Arden University. I have been with Arden since November 2020 and, throughout 2021, I have been working hard to build the identity and strategy for our nascent school. I am an optician by profession and began my academic career in the Schools of Optometry at Anglia Ruskin and City, University of London. I have worked at various universities around the UK since then, branching out into all areas of quality assurance, student experience and work integrated learning in Nursing, Allied Health Professions, Social Sciences and Management.”
What are your healthcare habits?
“I live by the belief that preventative and self-care healthcare habits are best. Ensuring that you have the recommended regular eye tests, visits to the dentist and remain mindful of any changes in your own physical, mental and emotional health is so important.
“It is equally important to manage your own expectations and lifestyle to stay healthy. This is as simple as trying to have balance: allowing yourself treats (cake, wine etc.), making time to have breaks from a busy life and scheduling fun/playtime as well.”
How has the healthcare industry changed since you started working here?
“The industry has changed in the intensity and expectations put onto the services and people working in the sector. The population is constantly increasing, people everywhere now have increased physical and mental health needs which are more complex; expectations are higher with regards to accessibility, availability and immediacy. Technological advances are beneficial, but the workforce needs time to train and gain confidence in new practices, processes, equipment and software, which is being introduced all the time.”
For those considering a degree in healthcare or those seeking a career change, what advice would you give them?
“Explore the areas in the sector that interest you and look for voluntary or work experience posts. The reality of the sector is overwhelming sometimes. However, it is a very rewarding and secure industry that offers great opportunities for development.”
Besides the pandemic, what is the next big health crisis we should be preparing for?
“In my opinion, the next big health crises are mid-degree mental health issues, especially in the 40-years-and-under age bracket, and physical health in terms of lifestyle issues: sitting at desks, little exercise, poor diets etc.”