The lessons of COVID-19 have been broad, says Nursing Lecturer Dr Margaret Yen, who joined CDU five months ago.
“As an academic, it has taught me of the need to create greater flexibility for students, and to develop learning designs that can respond to the unfolding changes in the health sector in a meaningful way,” says Dr Yen.
Like the rest of the world, it’s also impacted her personally too.
“My tendency to make assumptions about life, including employment, relationships, travel, and having unlimited opportunities to spend time with friends and family have been seriously challenged by Covid-19.
“I now work entirely from home and am unable to see my children or friends.
“Holidays have been cancelled. I have been able to overcome some of the constraints through online means. My bank account is however very healthy!
“In terms of my academic role I find students are responding to the opportunities I have initiated to consider the impact of Covid-19 on the heath care sector, and on their work in particular.”
With a Bachelor of Health Science Nursing, Associate Diploma in Community Health Nursing, Master of Health Management, Master of Health Sciences Education and a PhD, Dr Yen’s field of expertise is two-fold – nursing, plus the education of leaders and managers in health services.
“My nursing experiences in Australia and the UK, early in my career, inspired me to seek management opportunities where I could make a difference to health care and nursing work,” says Dr Yen.
“My interest in teaching leadership and management in nursing and health services followed on from these management experiences.
“I was drawn to the higher education sector as it provided me with an opportunity to make a positive impact on health care by enabling leaders and managers to develop the skills and confidence required to drive sustainable and positive change for their communities and for the health workforce.”
Dr Yen says one of her favourite things about teaching is interacting with students, both directly, usually online, and indirectly through their assessments.
“I also enjoy the scholarship of teaching, specifically within course and unit design.
“I love working at a growing University that offers possibilities for professional growth in my areas of interest.
“I was also attracted to the strategic focus on enhancement of Indigenous communities.”
Dr Yen believes the important and growing role of nurses has been highlighted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The role of nurses is central to the management of Covid-19.
“Nurses have become highly visible in their work on the front line in preventing, monitoring, and caring for members of the community in relation to this disease.
“The future critical role of nurses in supporting the health of populations worldwide has been established as a consequence of this pandemic.
“The work of nursing leaders and managers has changed in response to the pandemic and this has important implications for academics who are working in this space.”
As for her personal future, Dr Yen’s goals are ample.
“To continue to develop my teaching skills in the online environment; to contribute to the development of nurse leaders and managers in health care through education, and to develop further publications from my thesis which has explored the influence of nurse managers on workplace learning.”