Swansea University developing healthcare leaders of the future

Swansea University’s Student Leadership Academy (SLA) has welcomed a new group of healthcare students to its leadership programme, supporting their delivery of quality care to future patients and service users.

Now in its sixth year, the programme strives to move away from the idea of leadership as conditional to a title and instead give students an opportunity to develop confidence in leading through inspiring, influencing, and supporting others.

All pre-registration students from the University’s School of Health and Social Care can apply to the programme, with successful candidates invited to a two-day leadership conference.

The conference helps delegates meet like-minded people, participate in interactive group activities, and hear from inspirational leaders and employers from health, social care, and educational backgrounds.

Mrs Beryl Mansel, Director of the SLA, said: “With 24 students from eight disciplines, including the four fields of nursing, operating department practice, occupational therapy, cardiac physiology and paramedic science, this year’s conference surpassed all expectations.

“We witnessed remarkable growth and development among our delegates, which was nothing short of awe-inspiring; their engagement, enthusiasm, and dedication have been truly remarkable, demonstrating a genuine commitment to personal and professional growth.”

The conference featured several speakers from high-profile external organisations, such as Plymouth University and the Royal College of Occupational Therapy, as well as third-year students, graduates, and lecturers from the University.

Themes included interprofessional collaboration, mutual support, self-belief, and emotional intelligence, as highlighted in a session with SLA alumni Andrew Lelliott and Simon James.

Simon, a specialist practitioner in the National Lymphoedema Team, said: “As one of the first-ever SLA delegates, it is an incredible honour to be invited back as a speaker, helping delegates mould themselves into who they want to become.

“At the start of the programme, you’re nervous about not knowing where it’s going to take you, but leave having confidence in your abilities, no matter the situation. Without the Academy, I’m not sure I’d be where I am today.”

Simon will now play a key role as a coach in this year’s SLA journey.

In addition to creating networking opportunities, coaches help delegates throughout the programme, sharing their experiences and offering a unique insight into their future profession.

A 2024 programme delegate said: “I am looking forward to having a coach and observing what a compassionate leader truly is. So far, the programme has been a great experience, having already met people from across different disciplines.

“Listening to the conference speakers was inspirational, and they’ve already helped me understand that if you put your mind to it, you never know where your career may take you. I’m excited to continue learning how to be an empathetic practitioner, using the unique opportunity of the SLA to develop leadership qualities that I can apply when I qualify.”

Learn more about the Student Leadership Academy at Swansea University.

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