Joan is Associate Dean Teaching Excellence in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies and one of the Directors of the Centre for Chidren's Wellbeing (CCW), based at the Open University.
Her background is in adult education, management, leadership and coaching as well as adult and children's nursing, burns nursing, community health and pain management research. Joan has held a number of posts in nurse education and worked as a research fellow at the Institute of Child Health.
Joan is an expert in the field of adult education applied to practice. Her distinctive intellectual contribution comes from a strengths based position, focussing on those in society who are underprivileged or at a disadvantage in their ability to achieve their potential, and at the same time recognising the best of what is, to enhance students experience, so that they can meet their study goals and truly experience life changing learning.
Awards and Accreditation
Joan was awarded a Travel Scholarship from the Florence Nightingale Foundation in 2012 to undertake an appreciative enquiry project on international practice in the management of children's pain. This meant spending time at three study sites in the UK, Sweden and Australia. On completion of the Travel Scholarship project, the information was collated and Joan developed a new model of pain management, that harnessed the best practice from all three study sites. This model focuses on the confidence of nurses and the involvement of parents to improve the management of their children's pain post surgery. The model was published in Pain Magagement Nursing Journal in 2015.
More recently WellChild the National Charity for Sick Children has provided funding for a feaability study on the new pain model. This will involve specailist pain management teams in children's units and children's hospitals across the UK.
Joan is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Joan’s research expertise is in the management of pain, and allied interests concern child health, childhood obesity and parenting.
Pain management has received a higher profile in recent years and a situation has now developed where the knowledge of pain management is lagging behind the delivery of evidence based pain management. There are now standards for pain management, in particular for acute pain in children, but there is little evidence that nurses have managed to meet these standards. Nurses are aware of the need to improve the pain management of children but there is a recognised lack of provision of education on how best to manage children's pain.
Joan's work has addressed the paucity of practice based research in the management of childrren's pain through the publication of an influential book on children's, parents' and practitioners' stories of children's pain as well as articles on the expertise of parents in managing the pain of their child with complex needs.
Joan’s work has also focussed on the health and wellbeing of children and in particular how to tackle the pressing challenge of childhood obesity. Joan has edited three online editions of Journal of Child Health Care on Childhood Obesity, Adolescence and Learning Disability.
Joan has demonstrated excellent innovative practice in her scholarship work, situated in a strengths based approach, in recognition of the multiple challenges and disadvantages of part time students. Her approach to innovation is rooted in a stance of conceptualizing resilience, where students faced with a challenge have the ability, through support, to adjust to that challenge and continue with their studies. Joan’s focus has been to identify what students value and the coping mechanisms they utilize in the face of adversity that enables them to succeed, as well as the institutional factors that students identify as contributing to them achieving their study goals.
Joan has led on four funded scholarship projects, firstly on a level 1 gateway module exploring student resilience followed by an appreciative inquiry project exploring the antecedents and consequences of graduate success so that the factors identified as promoting success, could be reinforced and supported, but also to identify where graduates had found employment.
The third study involved a deep dive on data relating to students who non formally withdraw from a high population level one distance learning module. The aim of the project was to identify the unvoiced needs of students who withdrew from the module in order to influence processes to provide support in future. Her current Faultly wide project, working with colleagues, focuses on Employabilty and evaluationg a wider understanding of how students benefit from studying at the OU in relation to three gains, learning, working and personal gains, as outlined by Kellett and Clifton 2018.
Joan is passionate about identifying and promoting teaching excellence and is overseeing a range of projects highlighting and rewarding the teaching excellence of colleagues in the Faculty of Wellbeing Education and Language Studies.
Joan has been an external examiner in a range of universities for over 20 years. Her current role is external examiner for the Masters in Paediatrics and Child Health at Imperial College London.
|Children and Young People Research Group||Group||Faculty of Health and Social Care|