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I commenced this course after a two year break from University so I was not looking forward to returning to study however, once on this course I was pleasantly surprised both by the course content and the quality of teaching. My reason for doing this course was due to the implementation of the new care standards regulations which insist that managers in social care settings have a management qualification. The course consists of four modules and covers the following topics. MANAGEMENT OF CARE: This module looks at; Quality of Care Assessment of clients needs Communication in the care environment Relationships and Normalisation Setting standards FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT: I found this module of particualar relevance as I was fairly new to accounts management it covered the following topics; Financial accounting Management accounting Taxation Interpretation of accounts Management of information systems Effective decision making HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: This module covers; Principles of leadership Motivation and creating commitment Employment legislation Managing Diversity Staff selection and recruitment Employee relations MARKETING MANAGEMENT: This module looks at; Introduction to marketing Marketing research The marketing mix The marketing audit Market planning Marketing strategies The course ends with various speakers being invited to speak on such areas as; The registration & inspection unit Legal issues pharmaceutical issues Health & Safety executive Overall I would recommend this course to any manager in any residential care setting who has no management qualification. the facilities at Queens are very good the libraries have most of the relevant texts, and as there is no set text there are no expensive books to buy. The institute of lifelong learning has its own small
library which is quite well stocked and the staff are extremely helpful. The course cost £395 however an ILA card will save you £70. Some employers may pay for their staff to go on this course but many in the private sector will have to foot the bill themselves. Assessment is by assignment only so no exams to study for. The group is small, usually 10-15 students at a time, this creates a great forum for discussion as we all come from very different disciplines. The course is part time and runs from Sept to June and can be accessed through the Institute of Lifelong learning at Queens.
I did a conversion course at Queen's University in Archaeology. My primary degree was in History and I thought I might have a better chance of using my degree and of doing an interesting PhD. (in history) and then moving on into academia if I stretched my knowledge a bit by studying a similar subject. Also, archaeology being more practical is a profession you can actually find work in, whereas there are no jobs directly connected with history degrees (other than being taken advantage of by the Ulster American Folk Park Migration Database Project). I chose Queen's because it is a world class university and Archaeology is a world class standard department, rated 5 out of 5*, so nearly as good as Oxford or Cambridge. The Department of Archaeology's high rating however is largely dependant on the status of the palaecolology department which conducts carbon 14 dating and helped establish the Irish tree ring dating catalogue which makes it extremely valuable. Although the building in which it resides is small, it has enough lecture space for both postgraduate and undergraduate students and the atmosphere was one of being familiar with nearly everyone who was in the department after their first year (when everyone does 4 or 5 subjects). You also meet on excavations and field trips organised by the department as part of the module system. My conversion course required you to pick up all the information that the BA/BSc (which is palaecology based) but in 9 months and then write a thesis (which could take about a year depending on the topic/supervisor). The modules and taught elements of the course were wonderful and thought provoking. They involved a misture of lectures and tutorials with assessments in the forms of tutorial contributions, presentations, essays and final exams. Every week you would have at least one piece of work to hand in and everyone found the course to be quite demanding in terms of the amount of wo
rk you had to submit. Fortunately if you did complete all the work to a reasonable level and had a final exam at the end, then the amount of revision to be done was far less. Some time was spent in the lab when dealing with hands on modules like Archaeological Field work and Archaeological artifacts. Here all the staff would help you along as best as they could and the lab supervisor (an extremely pleasant man called John) was always friendly and extremely knowledgeable. Attempts were also made to try and organise the lab opening hours around the students so that if you had to stay late then the lab would be open. You also learn how to make medieval pottery, draw finds (from flint to pot sherds) and use geophysical prospecting equipment. My main problem lay in the quality of supervision for the actual thesis. It is set out so that in the second term, you do a module relating to the topic of your thesis with your supervisor. He sets you reading, a series of essays and you have regular meetins with him. However, this is incredibly open to abuse. Out of the 6 people that were registered in my course, all 6 had problems arranging the meetings with the supervisors and discussing the reading. Often the supervisors were unwilling to listen to our interests and following their own private agenda. One student had to nag her supervisor and track him for a good hour before their scheduled meeting otherwise he would simply forget or get incolved in something else and miss it. It is also open to abuse in that if you have a personality clash with your supervisor you have nowhere to turn. My supervisor and I weren't really the best of friends, but because he was the only lecturer in Irish medieval archaeology I was stuck with him. For some reason despite the fact that I had firsts and 2.1s in every other module, this guy thought my work was barely worth a 2.2. His comments on how I could improve were unhelpful and he continually changed his mind on
how the actual work on the thesis should take place. Rather than guiding he stressed me so much that the University Doctor warned me about my blood pressure and suggested I stay away from the supervisor for a while. When I eventually completed my field work and returned with the numerous soil samples that had been extracted for the purpose of the thesis, he came down and saw me in the lab and complained about how numerous they were, despite the fact that had there been less soil samples the whole exercise of the thesis would have been defeated. Thanks to the wonderful qualities of my supervisor, who 'forgot' to review any chapters of my thesis (though I was able to seek this assistance from the other medieval archaeologist in the department, who did review them) I was forced to launch a formal complaint against him. It was then I discovered that many other such complaints had been launched, including by some members of staff and that they were considering asking him to seek psychological counselling. Had I not been so fierce he could have well failed my thesis and thus made my entire 2 years spent at Queen's useless. As far as I understand it, no checks have as yet been put into place to stop this practice that leaves students very vulnerable in the hands of their supervisors. That said, I would reccommend Queen's for archaeology, especially the undergraduate degrees as they are highly comprehensive and leave you with field work experience that will enable those that complete the degrees to gain work in the profession. The experience was largely pleasant and I've heard nothing but good things from those who did not take any of the modules on medieval Ireland (castles and buildings). The main flaw lies in that one of the most senior members of staff creates a bad atmosphere for most people who come in contact with him and that should personality clashes arise the student is incredibly vulnerable.
Queen's University Nursing Department achieved an excellent mark in their recent QA assesment, is a great place to do nursing in Northern Ireland. The course is being altered at the moment for the new intakes to allow more accomodation of what students want, and every opportunity is taken to help nursing student be involved in every day university life, which is difficult considering the hours that nursing students are required to work. As a 3rd year Child branch student, my experiences with QUB nursing, on the whole have been very very good. Admittedly, there are always a few upsets, such as room bookings etc. This must be emphasised is to do with the University as a whole and not just nursing. During my time, I have found great friends, both students and lecturers, and I am proud to be a member of the child branch, who's lecturers will become just like family. I have found QUB to be very understanding, letting people take time out for family problems, and they have no problem re-entering later on. If you are told something by QUB nursing, they DO keep their word. It's a wonderful, supporting environment to work in, and if you can have a little patience as they get through the teething problems of the wonderful new projects that they are encouraging (one ground breaking one is with Nursing Students and Medical Students learning side by side on the ward) Then I guarantee that you will look back and think "I had a great time there, I learnt lots and made brilliant friends" Though I must hasten to add that this is only for those who are serious about nursing - its a lot of hard work!